#UniteBehind wants Public Protector’s Prasa report set aside

ENCA

JOHANNESBURG – Civil society coalition #UniteBehind wants the Public Protector’s 2019 report on Prasa set aside.

An application has been submitted to the North Gauteng High Court which Busisiwe Mkhwebane has opposed.

In 2015, Mkhwebane’s predecessor Thuli Madonsela released a report revealing widespread corruption at Prasa under the management of Lucky Montana.

#UniteBehind says some of the investigations and findings deferred by Madonsela have not been properly addressed in Mkhwebane’s new report.

READ: Personal cost orders set dangerous precedent: Mkhwebane

#UniteBehind’s Zackie Achmat explained.

“Section 195 of the Constitution requires that all state organs conduct themselves professionally, ethically and takes the needs of people into account that they are accountable and open.

“The most important protection for us is the public protector to ensure that the state the public service works properly.”

Achmat related the timeline of the investigations into corruption at the transport company and what the civil society group expected from Mkhwebane.

“What we know is that at least R14-billion, and probably much higher than that, has been stolen by a range of politically connected individuals ranging from Auswell MashabaMakhensa Mabunda, Roy Moodley, Arthur FraserMario Ferreira and so on, and they’ve done that with the connivance of the earliest board, led by Sfiso Buthelezi and the CEO Lucky Montana.

“What happened is that the previous public protector asked Treasury to do investigations on all contracts above R10-million over a three-year period.

“Over 216 contracts were investigated and about 203 of them were found to have been irregular, or had absent documentation and so on. In addition to that, Prasa itself started investigations and found contracts like Siyangena (R4,5-billion) Swifambo, which was the locomotives [were] too tall (R4,5-billion) and of course the public protector had to look at all their reports and see whether the action that she had ordered was followed up.”

Achmat reiterated, “she didn’t look at those at all. She, in fact, only looked at eight of the 11 remaining ones that the previous public protector asked her to look at. What she did with those eight, begs the following question: is the public protector incompetent, is she wilfully negligent, or does she actively have an ulterior motive? And that will be the question that will be before the courts.”