The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Board of Control has appointed David Mphelo as the acting group CEO with immediate effect.
This comes after the board placed its Group CEO, Zolani Matthews, on precautionary suspension to investigate an alleged sensitive matter of security breach and other contractual obligations associated with his employment contract.
"On 17 November 2021, the PRASA Board of Control was made aware of a letter from the Department of State Security stating that Matthews’s Top Secret security clearance has been declined. The reason for this decision is due to his deliberate failure to disclose to Prasa that he holds British citizenship.
“This came as a shock to Prasa and upon perusal of a declaration form signed on 8 May 2021 by Matthews, it was evident that he deliberately concealed this fact," chairperson of the Prasa board, Leonard Ramatlakane, said on Saturday.
The effect of the material non-disclosure by Matthews is in breach of his contract of employment.
"It is upon receipt of this notification that the board took a decision to place Mathews on precautionary suspension on 18 November 2021. The reason for placing him on precautionary suspension is to ensure that further investigation is conducted without any interference.
"It is prudent for Matthews not to attend to his duties whilst the investigation is underway," Ramatlakane said.
The board has emphasised that Matthews remains an employee of PRASA, pending the outcome of the investigation and the decision of the board.
"The board would like to be given space to deal with this matter without further issuance of further statements to the media," he said.