More SOE nightmares as Prasa will pay R1 billion to reinstate dismissed workers

Even the appointment of Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Public Enterprises is not enough to save Prasa this huge loss. We have the details.


How does that saying go again? “The night is always darkest just before the dawn”. Well, South Africans better hope that’s the case for the Passenger Rail of South Africa (Prasa). The group now has to fork out more than R1 billion to reinstate striking workers.

Around 700 workers have to be reinstated after a protected strike took place five years ago. The workers were dismissed after Prasa accused them of doing R42m in damages after burning trains. The workers belonged to the National Transport Movement and later received notices from Prasa asking them to submit representations stating why they should not be fired.

To cut a long story short, Prasa was not happy with the representations and the employees were dismissed. Unsurprisingly, a long and drawn out court battle then began and headed through multiple courts across the country.

Initially, the Labour Court backed up Prasa’s decision but the Labour Appeal Court found that their dismissal was “procedurally and substantively unfair.” Prasa was then ordered to reinstate them.

Prasa then took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal where their case was dismissed last month. Even with the frightening costs, Prasa told TimesLIVE it will comply with the court’s instructions.

“PRASA has‚ as a result started planning for the reinstatement of the employees along with the re-training for train drivers in order to renew their train driver licences which must be renewed every six months.”

All the reinstated employees will receive full pay as of the day the judgment was made. They will also receive lump sum back pay.

“The collective cost to company is approximately R1-billion. PRASA will engage in dialogue with both the unions and the affected employees on the details of the reinstatements.”

Workers unions are now currently in discussion with Prasa management on when to return to work.

With Prasa being a state owned enterprise, its issues will now be managed by the newly appointed Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan. With an extra R1 billion in losses, it’s not the beest way to start your new job.