Project delivery needs to be improved at PRASA © Peter Titmuss/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Project delivery needs to be improved at PRASA © Peter Titmuss/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

PRASA's new CPO to 'clean up' supply chain management

9 July 2020

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has appointed Willie Mathebula as acting group chief procurement officer with a mandate to address including non-payment of suppliers and ensuring critical capital projects are rolled out on time.

PRASA said Mathebula’s main task was “to clean up supply chain management... which has so far been the epicentre of PRASA’s challenges”.

He joins PRASA from the National Treasury, where he had previously been acting CPO.

South Africa’s passenger rail network has seen numerous challenges in recent years and has faced legal action from SME suppliers who have not been paid and from others whose businesses have been threatened by late payments.

“Mathebula has been mandated to... provide a clear interpretation and application of the regulatory framework, policies and procedures, and also provide solid leadership to the team,” a PRASA spokesperson said.

“This will include ensuring that decisions are not centralised on the GCPO, as has been the case in recent past.”

He has been tasked with improving project delivery, which has led to PRASA being unable to roll out critical capital expenditure projects, leaving it with an ageing infrastructure.

Mathebula, who replaces Keabetswe Mpane, has also been told to address SCM-related audit findings.

In December 2019 PRASA’s interim board was dissolved by transport minister Fikile Mbalula, who placed the entity under administration.

In June this year PRASA dismissed four senior officials after they were found guilty of procurement irregularities.

PRASA administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo said the dismissals came after a disciplinary inquiry around the awarding of security related tenders.  

The disciplinary hearing found the four officials had failed to ensure the state company’s supply chain management system remained fair, equitable, transparent and competitive. They had also failed to maintain a cost-effective procurement system.

In 2015 PRASA restructured its procurement system  following findings of maladministration by the public protector.

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