Former Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters has vehemently denied allegations that she unduly interfered in the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).
Peters gave her testimony at the State Capture Commission on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
Peters, who’s also a former African National Congress (ANC) MP first appeared before the commission on Monday, to give evidence related to Prasa’s affairs. She was implicated by former Prasa chairperson Popo Molefe, who himself took the stand at the commission..
Molefe claimed the former minister meddled with the internal processes of Prasa, however she was quick to deny this.
“In my life and in my experience, I have never frustrated any process,” Peters said.
She then proceeded to give an example in which the appointment of an individual at another entity under the transport department, was rejected by Parliament after they realised the person in question was leaving a post under a dark cloud.
This did little to help Peters in her attempt to defend herself, even prompting the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to say her example was essentially irrelevant to the matter at hand.
“I just want to make clear that example is not going to help you answer that question, whether in this case, you frustrated the process or not,” Zondo said.
“I didn’t frustrate the process, chair”, she interjected.
Dipuo Peters: ‘Firing the Prasa board was the right decision’
Dipuo Peters also said she stood by her controversial decision to axe the Prasa board, under Molefe. She said she was concerned about the rail agency’s stability under Molefe’s leadership.
Prasa’s irregular expenditure had sky-rocketed from R5.5 billion in 2015 to R24 billion in 2018.
“The focus of the board, not on the core responsibility of the company was of a concern to me and I raised it even in the meetings I had with them. There are notes and speeches I delivered in those meetings for the record and I want to indicate that ordinarily sitting back, there is a saying in life generally, that says you regret more the things you didn’t do than the things you did. I believe my patience with the board of Tata Molefe was overstretched,” she said at the time.
Peters has concluded her testimony. The commission will also hear from Prasa’s former head of Legal Martha Ngoye.