Prasa's newly appointed head of human capital Thandeka Mabija faces a tough road ahead

If media reports are anything to go, she certainly has her work cut out for her.

The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) recently announced Thandeka Ndilikazi Mabija as its new Group Executive of Human Capital. Thandeka is a seasoned human capital management professional with more than 15 years' experience, having worked at various companies, including Transnet and platinum mining companies Anglo Platinum and Lonmin. She describes herself(on LinkedIn) as being skilled in operations management, analytical skills, HR consulting, coaching and in developing HR Policies. She also has a MBL focused in Business leadership from UNISA. 

Thandeka has her work cut out for her at Prasa, which has been facing a myriad of challenges not least of which are those related to corruption and maladministration in which many of the company’s now former leaders have been implicated.

News 24 has reported that, in March, the company secretary Lindikaya Zide, chief information officer Chris Mbatha, and CEO of Prasa corporate real estate solutions Tara Ngubane were all placed on special leave, while the general manager of enterprise risk Tumi Mohube was suspended. 

"These officials were implicated in allegations of improper, irregular, corrupt, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Then, following a disciplinary hearing in April, the rail agency dismissed its general manager responsible for risk management Matome Mohube. Charges that had been made against him involve the falsification of board resolutions at a meeting in February 2011," reads the article.

The report goes on to say name other senior leaders within the railway agency who have either been put on special leave or suspended following the outcomes of investigations at the entity related to improper, irregular, corrupt, fruitless and wasteful expenditure by various employees.

More recently, the Daily Maverick has reported that Prasa could this year be the driver of up to 10 000 job losses as some of its main service providers struggle to stay afloat.

The rail agency, which has not had a properly appointed board of directors since May 2017 or a properly appointed chief executive since 2015, has seen over 3000 security guards dismissed after Prasa cancelled all its security contracts in order to comply with a 2015 Public Protector ruling that the contracts were awarded irregularly. Those security guards were not paid their October salaries.

Furthermore, the report states, around  3 600 jobs have been lost among service providers that do Prasa’s general overhaul, coach refurbishments, and ad hoc maintenance, as they have not had contracts since March 2018.

One company, Wictra, which has been doing general overhaul, refurbishment and ad hoc maintenance work and other repairs to Metrorail’s trains for 23 years, said it would have to dismiss all its 2,000 employees if Prasa does not resume contracting out maintenance work for its coaches.

This means over 10,000 jobs directly linked to Prasa’s meltdown could be lost this year.