“Prosecute the PRASA thieves”

Activists fighting for a decent Metrorail service protest at NPA

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Photo of protesters
Commuter activists want those responsible for corruption at PRASA prosecuted. Photo: Tariro Washinyira

Commuter activist group #UniteBehind protested at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) offices on Monday. About 50 people joined the picket, which they dubbed: “Prosecute the PRASA Amasela [thieves].”

A memorandum addressed to Shamila Batohi, the new director of the NPA, demanded urgent investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for state capture and corruption at PRASA. “These must include present and former PRASA employees and officials, officials in government and the Department of Transport, private companies that won PRASA contracts, as well as suppliers for those contracts.”

Several of the companies implicated in corruption at PRASA are based overseas. So the memo also called for the NPA to meet with officials from the European Union and Switzerland to help with the recovery of assets.

The memo also asked for a meeting with the NPA and PRASA’s board and management.

Deputy Director of Prosecutions Adrian Mopp accepted the memo. He said that Batohi is in Pretoria but considers this an important and urgent matter, which would get her attention. Mopp said an investigation had been conducted and referred to prosecution.

Protesters described the breakdown of the train service in Cape Town. Woline Warries commutes from Fish Hoek to Salt River, where she changes to another train for Maitland. “Sometimes I get off at Salt River and there are no trains. I must then catch a taxi and spend money I have budgeted for something else,” she said.

She said that December was difficult because she didn’t go on leave and very few people were using the trains. She found it scary to sit in carriages with so few people; sometimes she sat alone. Fearing for her life and valuables, she started using taxis instead. “It cost me a lot of money.”

Mandy-Lynn Mott travels from Kenilworth to Cape Town. She is frustrated by a faulty boom that hasn’t been fixed for five months. She said this has caused half-hour delays while train drivers wait for manual authorisation to proceed.

She used to take a 7am train to get to work by 7:30am. Now she has to take a 6am train to avoid being late.

TOPICS:  Prasa / Metrorail

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