10/04/2017 13:42 SAST | Updated 10/04/2017 14:17 SAST

The High Court Says Popo Molefe And The Rest Of The Prasa Board Must Be Reinstated

The court ruled that the appointment of an interim board was also set aside.

Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images
Popo Molefe, one of the Delmas Treason Trialists, at the unveiling of the the Delmas Treason Trial Monument at the Delmas Magistrate Court in Delmas, South Africa on March 3, 2012. The monument was developed to honour the memory of the trialists and to preserve the popular Delmas Treason Trial.

Judge Peter Mabuse at the high court in Pretoria on Monday ordered that Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) chairperson Popo Molefe and board members be reinstated with effect from March 8.

The court ruled the decision by former transport minister Dipuo Peters to dissolve the board be set aside, as well as the appointment of an interim board. The board was dissolved after it voted to fire Collins Letsoalo as acting CEO of the parastatal.

The board unanimously voted to dismiss Letsoalo after the Sunday Times alleged be increased his yearly salary from R1,7 million to R5,9 million in October.

Molefe and other Prasa directors previously asked the court to review the board's dissolution, or declare it unlawful. During the application in March, Peters named an interim board, which included former Sanral CEO Nazir Alli.

Peters was axed as transport minister during President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle two weeks ago.

Less than a week before he and the rest of the board were fired, Molefe sent an explosive and detailed 15-page letter and explanatory memorandum to Peters on March 3, 2017. The documents relay the unfolding of events at Prasa "from the board's perspective."

Letsoalo and the board recently came to blows after it emerged he gave himself the enormous pay hike, less than a month after he was appointed.

The letter and memorandum alleges Peters was determined to parachute Letsoalo into Prasa and, once there, describes how serious she was to keep him there, seemingly delaying the appointment of a permanent chief executive by 10 months. It's also scathing of Letsoalo, who seemed bent on scoring as much as he could from his deployment.

"The only reason he was sent there was to stop the investigations into fraud and corruption at Prasa," Molefe told The Huffington Post South Africa on Wednesday night.

Molefe and his colleagues will on Thursday consult with legal counsel before challenging Peters' decision. Forensic investigations have so far revealed irregular contracts worth almost R13 billion awarded to various suppliers and service providers.