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Prasa gives ICT head the boot

Prasa has parted ways with its head of ICT.
Prasa has parted ways with its head of ICT.
Image: Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath

It is the end of the road for Passenger Rail Agency of SA and its group executive for Information Technology, Chris Mbhatha, after he was axed on Wednesday.

Mbhatha was dismissed after being found guilty in the "Siyangena Technologies matter which relates to the illegal awarding of a contract to the organisation for the installation of automatic speed gates, electronic information boards, surveillance systems as well as other matters".

"Prasa is currently pursuing Siyangena in an effort to recover the monies paid to it which amount to approximately R4.5 billion," said the state-owned entity in a media statement.

Earlier this year, Prasa submitted an affidavit to the North Gauteng High Court detailing the awarding of the contract to Siyangena without following proper tender procedures and further alleged that Siyangena had installed outdated, overpriced and ineffective security systems thus urging that the contract be set aside.

"In response,  the Board of PRASA set up processes to allow for investigations into various allegations of corruption.  These processes resulted in formal charges against Mr Mbatha and his subsequent dismissal.  In addition, other executives who were also charged on the same matter have been found guilty and dismissed after a fair hearing."

Prasa board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama said: "Prasa has a duty to investigate all the reports coming from the Public Protector, the National Treasury and the Auditor General.

"The process of investigation has been fair and has allowed all parties the opportunity to respond to the allegations.  In this case, Mr Mbhatha has been found guilty. Prasa  has  accepted the recommendation of the chairperson  of the hearing to dismiss Mr Mbatha”, said Kweyama.

Prasa chief executive Nkosinathi Sishi said: "The series of dismissals are in response to persistent allegations of corruption and the Agency's efforts to stabilise the business, clean up the administration and enable good corporate governance."