The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has admitted in court papers that some members of its leadership bent over backwards to award contracts to Siyangena Technologies, and that the contracts are unlawful and unnecessary, Times Select reported.
In a court affidavit, Prasa head of legal risk and compliance Onica Martha Ngoya reportedly said that the contract to secure train stations, worth R3.9-billion, was issued without proper tender procedures.
Less expensive and more efficient options were available to Prasa, Ngoya told the court.
Ngoya reportedly wants arbitration agreements that were reached between Prasa and Siyangena set aside, so that the disputes between the two can be aired in court – because it is "important that the disputes be resolved in a public forum".
Siyangena started out providing security gates and CCTV cameras to two train stations for R2.5-million each during the 2010 soccer world cup. This contract then ballooned to the point where Siyangena was being paid R31.5-million for each of the 62 stations it was eventually contracted to secure.
Times Select reported that Siyangena did not install a proper fare-collection system or access control at the stations.
This is not the first time these contracts have come under scrutiny. Former public protector Thuli Madonsela found them to be unlawful, and the Hawks are reportedly investigating.
Prasa went to court last year to try to overturn the contract, but lost on a technicality, Business Day reported at the time. In May, the court ruled that Prasa failed to challenge the contract within 180 days as required – something Prasa is now challenging.
Rapport reported that in litigation, it emerged that then-Prasa board chair Popo Molefe at the time claimed that former Prasa boss Lucky Montana benefited corruptly from the Siyangena contracts.
"Persons and entities associated with the first respondent [Siyangena Technologies] were involved in conferring unlawful financial benefits to Mr Montana," Molefe is reported to have said.