Prasa v/s Swifambo

Les Smith

JOHANNESBURG — Two years after journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh broke a story about deep-rooted corruption at Prasa, a court has ruled that the rail agency’s R3.5bn contract with Swifambo Rail Leasing be set aside. The tender became synonymous for delivering trains that were too tall for South African rail standards. The ruling is a vindication for corruption fighters and journalists such as Myburgh. The spotlight, inevitably, will now fall on Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi who was chair at Prasa at the time. When the story broke about the tall trains, Buthelezi famously said his hands are clean. However, reports have recently emerged about a Treasury investigation that found that Buthelezi and his Prasa board members should be criminally charged for contravening the PFMA Act in the awarding of at least 30 contracts. Out of 216 contracts worth R19bn, only 13 were found to be above board, according to reports. Add to that, Buthelezi also stands of accused of nepotism and having enriched himself amid reports that he and his brother directly benefited from Swifambo contracts. Now that he’s in Treasury, will that institution act? – Gareth van Zyl

By Pieter-Louis Myburgh, News24

Johannesburg – Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe says the state-owned rail entity’s board feels vindicated by Monday’s High Court judgment to review and set aside the company’s controversial contract for new locomotives.

Johannesburg High Court Judge J Francis on Monday ruled that Prasa’s R3.5 billion contract with Swifambo Rail Leasing for new locomotives, which was signed in 2013, must be set aside. The contract value later ballooned to more than R5 billion, of which nearly R4 billion has been paid by Prasa to Swifambo.

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