Prasa board 'vindicated' by court ruling on sketchy locomotives deal

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board says it has been vindicated by the High Court decision to review and set aside the company’s controversial contract for new locomotives.

The Johannesburg High Court on Monday set aside a R2.6 billion tender for new locomotives which was awarded to a company called Swifambo Rail Leasing in 2013.

Swifambo, a company with no footprint in the rail industry, was awarded the contract and the Spanish-built trains were later found to be unsuitable for local railway lines.

The board has been vindicated.

William Steenkamp, Non-Executive Director at the Prasa Board

It has been a long haul for us as the board during the investigation.

William Steenkamp, Non-Executive Director at the Prasa Board

The board's William Steenkamp explains that the judgment has effectively declared the contract as unlawful and irregular.

Steenkamp says the Prasa will have to retrieve the money paid to Swifambo and return their locomotives.

According to Steenkamp, Swifambo should never have qualified to be considered as a bidder in the tender contract.

He says Prasa supports the Hawks investigation into corruption and irregular tender processes at the rail agency.

Take a listen to him explain the importance of the ruling:

Investigative reporter Pieter-Louis Myburgh says the board has been vindicated after an uphill battle and reflects on the exposé which detailed the Afro 4000 locomotives' unsuitability for local rail lines.

Meanwhile, Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi still maintains that his hands are clean in the tender saga during his time as chairman of the state-owned rail services company.

Take a listen to reporter Pieter-Louis Myburgh:

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