Autopax bus service to shed up to 350 jobs, says Prasa boss Zolani Matthews

Prasa chief executive Zolani Matthews says it has become clear Prasa requires a review of its bus operations. Stock photo.
Prasa chief executive Zolani Matthews says it has become clear Prasa requires a review of its bus operations. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Christian Mueller

Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) CEO Zolani Matthews has announced plans to shed up to 350 jobs in the agency’s bus operating subsidiary Autopax Passenger Services, which operates long-distance Translux and City to City buses.

This was announced during a media briefing reviewing his first 100 days as Prasa CEO.

Matthews said it had become abundantly clear Prasa requires a review of its bus operations.

“Notwithstanding the negative impact of Covid-19 on the bus industry, Prasa had already taken a decision to divisionalise Autopax from a subsidiary. Extensive consultation has commenced with labour as some plans involve a reduction in employee numbers,” he said.

“Currently the target is for the reduction of 350 employees. We are, however, looking at the possibilities of absorbing a number of these employees into the Prasa group where vacancies are available.”

He said a new model and operations of Autopax will become possible once the divisionalisation process has been established. “This would include a revised mandate on the operations of Autopax to support the primary mandate of Prasa on rail operations.”

Matthews said Prasa was facing serious cashflow challenges purely because of erosion in revenue streams

“These included fares collected from rail operations which have significantly been reduced due to non-availability of the product, and rental income around our stations reduced significantly because of lack of train operations, which contribute substantially to business operations,” he said.

He said the impact of Covid-19 has contributed immensely on the business operations of Prasa and some of its tenants, who have not been spared the economic hardships.

“Prasa in the main has an operational expenditure [opex] challenge which has contributed to complaints from the public, particularly around opex payments where Prasa has been paying its debtors on 160-day payment terms to manage its debts.”

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