Conceding the “atrocious” past performance of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) due to it having grossly failed to spend billions allocated for its capital programme, acting chief executive Hishaam Emeran yesterday maintained the state-owned entity (SOE) was on an upward trajectory.
In 2021, Prasa – among hardest hit SOEs by state capture, which last year implored MPs to lobby the National Treasury to drop the outstanding R1.8 billion debt it owed Transnet – had only achieved 19% of its set targets.
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Addressing the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) in parliament on progress in implementing corrective measures at the cash-strapped Prasa, Emeran was bullish.
“By March 2023, the performance had significantly improved – now sitting at 59% in achieving our set targets – representing an upward trajectory, not where we want to be,” he said.
“In the past 12 months there has been a cycle of continual improvement – positive in terms of the Prasa recovery programme.
The capital budget has been spent.”
He said it had been a “key challenge over the years” being unable to execute the capital programme and the associated budget.
“In the past year, our allocation was R12.6 billion for the capital programme and we exceeded that. R13.5 billion is what we have spent in the past financial year.
“This has ensured the sustainability of the rail system going forward – it’s critical that we roll this out in line with the modernisation programme. In the past we underspent – which has had a negative impact on the rail industry.”’
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