On Tuesday the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) was granted an award rescinding a default judgment against it, regarding an order for the agency to pay R58 million to a company called Siyaya DB Consulting Engineers.
This judgement was granted after a settlement between the former chairperson of the interim Prasa board Tintswalo Makhubele and Siyaya that the agreement effectively nullified Prasa's legal team from defending the rail agency against those two companies.
Between the years 2014 and 2017 Prasa paid more than R630 million to Siyaya Rail Solutions and has reportedly bagged R5 billion in deals from Prasa.
Speaking to Bongani Bingwa, Chairperson of Prasa Board Khanyisile Kweyama says the judgement is a relief.
We really need all the resources we can put our hands on to ensure that our commuters, our customers and our passengers are receiving the services that we should be providing them.— Khanyisile Kweyama, Chairperson of Prasa Board
You know the maintenance of infrastructure, I don't have to repeat the challenges we face every day.— Khanyisile Kweyama, Chairperson of Prasa Board
She says legally the matter was in front of the courts and that Siyaya had taken Prasa to court.
The former chairperson removed the legal team that was representing us, which means that we were not represented as Prasa in court. And Siyaya had sent certain invoices to Prasa wich Prasa refused to honour because the work had not been performed.— Khanyisile Kweyama, Chairperson of Prasa Board
And that would have been the defence that Prasa would have given the judge, but by being absent and Prasa not being able to defend the case and the former chairperson instructing the lawyers then who were now appointed to not defend the matter, it meant we were found in contempt of court and therefore default.— Khanyisile Kweyama, Chairperson of Prasa Board
As you know, yesterday the judge rescinded it and said we can now go get our funds back.— Khanyisile Kweyama, Chairperson of Prasa Board
Listen below to the full interview: