The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) intends filing legal papers on Wednesday, 3 March 2021, challenging the Labour Court’s decision to set aside the dismissal of three senior executives.

Prasa’s former Group Executive for legal, risk and compliance Martha Ngoye, former Chief Operations Officer (COO) Nkosinathi Khena and Tiro Holele, CEO of Autopax, had their contracts terminated, for having been in the employ of Pprasa beyond the five-year limit.

The trio did not take the matter lying down and approached the labour court, which ruled on Wednesday, 3 March 2021, that their termination of employment was unlawful.

However Prasa claims the court’s decision was flawed and will be appealing the ruling.

“Prasa will be appealing the judgement of the Acting Judge as the basis of the judgement in favour of the applicants is flawed in law. Prasa’s legal time will be filing the necessary papers before the end of business tomorrow, 3 March 2021,” the agency said in a short statement.

Are the axed Prasa executives under siege?

Martha Ngoye and Nkosinathi Khena received their termination letters on 29 January 2021 while Holele’s was issued the next month.

In addition to staying beyond five years, Ngoye, whose contract was supposed to be terminated on 31 August 2020, is accused of unlawfully approving a payment of R58m to SA Fence & Gate when she had no authority to do so.

Khena, on the other hand, is accused of having caused financial losses to Prasa by paying R25 million to the same company, without the proper authorisation. According to the rail agency, Khena reinstated SA Fence & Gate’s contract, despite National Treasury having flagged it. He also reinstated Ngoye, who at the time had been suspended by then Group CEO Lucky Montana for unlawfully approving the R58 million to SA Fence and Gate.

Ngoye had appeared before the State Capture Commission in February – after she was dismissed and claimed the board was getting rid of her to hide “unlawful acts.”

“The approach that they took was to simply write a dismissal letter…so that I can then be forced to use my resources to fight against this injustice. While they use the state resources to maintain their unlawful act,” she told the commission’s chairperson Raymond Zondo.

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Presh JM Reporter

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