PRASA forced to overturn regional security manager's suspension

GroundUp reveals how the CCMA found Ernest Hendricks to have been treated unfairly.

GroundUp has reported that Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has been ordered to reinstate Western Cape Regional Security Manager Ernest Hendricks, who the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) found had been unfairly treated. 

Hendricks had been suspended after two trains set on fire at Cape Town Station, costing the agency R33 million. However, Hendrick later argued in a ten-page letter there were numerous failings within the rail agency’s security framework, which were beyond his control. Furthermore, not only was his suspension effected without the permission of PRASA’s CEO, but it had also been longer than the prescribed 30-day period which, according to PRASA rules, can only be extended if the matter was complex and needed further investigation. 

“Mark Horn, the Benefits and Payroll manager, who had also been acting HR manager, told the CCMA that Hendricks’s suspension was necessary because “he could have influenced witnesses or tamper with evidence” during the forensic investigation,” reads the GroundUp report.

“Horn, however, revealed during questioning by Hendricks’s lawyer that PRASA had not done investigations into the six trains that were burnt during Hendricks’s suspension. Horn told the CCMA that those six trains were in transit whereas the two torched over Easter were at the station.”

In the damning CCMA ruling, commissioner Elridge Edwards found that Hendricks’s suspension was unfair and ordered that he be reinstated by no later than 20 November.