Prasa manager, former employee nabbed for stolen assets worth R2m as Mbalula welcomed arrests

Two people have been arrested for allegedly being in possession of stolen assets, worth almost R2-million in value, belonging to Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

One of the two suspects is currently an employee at Prasa while the other is a former employee of the railway agency.

The two were arrested by the Organised Crime Unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Protection Services of Prasa during weekend.

The arrests follow an intense investigation by the unit of the SAPS and Prasa security personnel, which also included a warrant to search the premises of the manufacturing company.

12 points machines and 50 signal tuning units, all belonging to Prasa, have been recovered.

"One of the suspects is an employee of Prasa at management level at one signal depot in the Germiston area in the city of Ekurhuleni. The other is a former Prasa manager, who now owns and runs an electrical and railway equipment supply company," Prasa said.

The two suspects were detained at Elsburg SAPS and are expected to appear at a local magistrate's court on Monday. The investigation continues and further arrests are possible.

The two arrests are part of numerous other arrests that have taken place since the appointment of the acting head of Prasa Protection Services, retired Brigadier-General Tebogo Rakau, earlier this year.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula welcomed the arrests.

"I continue to stress within the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster the need to ensure that we eliminate these syndicates. It is promising to see Prasa's commitment to rid itself of corrupt officials who work to collapse this important agency.

"I reiterate that those who get arrested must be charged, convicted and receive the highest sentence. This will not only deter other criminals, but will ensure our work to fix Prasa is not derailed. We have the law on our side, it must be used," Mbalula said

Meanwhile, Prasa announced that it had started its process to recruit 3,100 security personnel.

The railway agency's administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo said the decision to in-source security personnel was based on the fact that several security contracts were terminated.

"The contracts were found by the offices of the public protector and the auditor-general to have been irregular. Four Prasa employees were dismissed last month as a result of their involvement in the procurement of the irregular contracts."

The 3,100 new recruits are expected to commence their guard duties in August 2020.

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