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A war room, hiring CEOs, ‘fresh thinking’: Mbalula’s plan to fix transport enterprises

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says in order to improve efficiency and governance, the appointment of permanent of CEOs at entities that fall under his department will be prioritised.

In his first Budget Vote Speech in Parliament, Mbalula said several entities did not have CEOs and urged boards “to act decisively” to ensure the recruitment of suitable candidates.

He added that companies such as the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) were among state-owned firms without permanent leaders.

Embattled PRASA has had six interim CEOs in the past three years.

The agency is current headed by Nkosinathi Sishi, who was appointed in following the resignation of Sibusiso Sithole on February 28. Sithole stayed on the job for nine months, from his appointment in June 2018.

PRASA is also operating with an interim board.

Mbalula lamented the governance challenges faced by the rail agency, which he said had also been “haemorrhaging engineers” – rendering it unable to improve performance.

War room

He said a “ministerial war room”, aimed at stabilising PRASA through an oversight role, has been established and expected to achieve tangible results within 100 days.

Mbalula also mentioned that the Transport Department would seek out young talent to take up board positions, in an effort to “infuse new energy and fresh thinking.”

“We will similarly ensure that all boards go through a mandatory programme on corporate governance and ethics”.

Mbalula stressed the government’s commitment to find a “lasting solution” to the Gauteng e-toll system. 

“We are mindful of the demand to crap the e-tolls, and we are therefore looking at solutions that would balance the demand for the country to honour its obligation as far as the e-toll debt is concerned,” he said.

A task team consisting of official from the Department of Transport, SANRAL, the Gauteng province and the National Treasury is expected to deliver a report with recommendations on the issue to President Cyril Ramaphosa by the end of August.

Last week in his State of the Province Address, Premier David Makhura reiterated that e-tolls would be scrapped. The statement prompted scathing criticism Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, who slammed Gauteng leadership’s position on for the decision.

Mboweni’s position on the contentious matter has always been that motorists must must pay for using the roads.



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