The Committee met the previous day to be briefed by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). However, as the Committee had not exhausted all issues to do with the Agency the Chairperson allowed Committee members to continue on from the previous day’s questions. The presentation on Metrorail service delivery in all metros was postponed.
The Committee appreciated the openness with which PRASA had responded to some of the questions from the Committee the previous day and that the admission by the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of PRASA that there was a problem at the Agency was a step in the right direction. Looking through the Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Transport, the Committee was concerned about some of the repetitive findings by Auditor-General South Africa on PRASA’s finances since repetitive findings generally indicated a systemic problem. There were also major gaps between the oversight disciplines and particular management issues that the Committee had picked.
The PRASA chairman asked if the meeting could be held in camera to answer the questions put to him. The Chairperson said that if there were issues that needed to be discussed without the public present, the process was that there had to be an application to the Speaker’s office prior the meeting taken place. Since that had not occurred the media would not vacate and Dr Molefe would have to respond on record.
Some of the many discussion points raised by the Committee included:
• Referring to a statement that PRASA had released towards the end of 2015 that in terms of the suitability of the locomotives, testing would be put on hold. Therefore that would have had an effect on the intended roll-out as there would have been some delay; how then could the modernisation programme be said to be on course if such a statement had been released in November 2015? What was the current status of the modernisation programme? Another implication that would have arisen as a result of all of that would have been the inadequacy of the currency hedging which had caused the contract to increase from R3.5 billion to R5 billion and a decrease in the number of initially expected locomotives from 88 to 70. What were the real projections around the modernisation programme?
• The decision by PRASA BoC on director remuneration without the Minister’s approval meant a contravention of good governance principles which was worrying. .
• How had the R83 million payment to Werksmans been approved; who had tested that there had been value for money?
• A request for the Werksmans report even if that would be for members’ eyes only, so as to be able separate media rumours from what had actually been uncovered by Werksmans investigations.
• A request for all BoC meeting minutes, agendas and attendance registers.
• In the shareholders compact it had said that: ‘PRASA would be required to furnish the DoT and Minister Peters in writing on request with any information as may be required from time to time. PRASA would have to provide the Minister with copies of the agendas, reports and resolutions of the Board. However, it did not seem as if the Minister had been receiving the documentation as stipulated.
• The Committee understood that ISO 9000 certification bodies and annual auditing of PRASA was really an expensive exercise; had it been budgeted for and how far was the implementation process?
• Of concern was that the BoC could raise its own allowances but could not attend parliamentary inquiries.
The Committee became more and more hostile towards the PRASA chairman as the meeting progressed and a committee member repeated his assertion from the day before that #PRASABoardmustFall.
The Chairperson said the meeting was a continuation of the previous day’s proceedings where the Committee had agreed to suspend the meeting to allow members to attend the plenary session of the House. The Chairperson allowed members to continue with the discussion.
Ms S Xego (ANC) said that the admission by Acting Group Chief Executive Officer (AGCEO) of PRASA that there was a problem at the Agency was a step in the right direction. Perusing the Annual Performance Plan (APP) of the Department of Transport (DoT) she had noted that citizens did not know much about PRASA but more about the DoT. Therefore the Committee wanted the Minister to speak more about PRASA in the press as there had recently been a lot of negative statements in the media by the PRASA Board of Control (BoC). The Committee wanted to know what was planned, how much would be spent in implementing that plan and by when all of that would be done. If it had been done, that was good, if not, what the reasons were behind the implementation failing. Parliament and the greater public were interested in the deliverables at PRASA and not what had been transpiring of late. Therefore she agreed with the rest of the Committee that the PRASA BoC was failing PRASA and the greater public, and she was in agreement with all that had been recommended the previous day by the Committee.
Mr C Hunsinger (DA) appreciated the openness with which PRASA had responded to some of the questions from the Committee the previous day. His question related to the modernisation project at PRASA where Mr Sebola had replied to a question that the programme was on track. Mr Hunsinger queried that statement in terms of the original schedule of how the modernisation would take place; especially the deadlines. Against that schedule a number of things had occurred that would have impeded that schedule and therefore it was unacceptable to say that the programme remained on track as certain adjustments would have had to have been made. Which schedule was being referred to when the programme was said to be on course in terms of the original commitments made with the original schedule, as there was an expectancy from the public that there would have been some remedial action to better render the services from PRASA since there would have been more stock available. He referred to a statement that PRASA had released towards the end of 2015 that in terms of the suitability of the locomotives, testing would be put on hold. Therefore that would have been the effect on the intended roll-out as there would have been some delay. How then could the modernisation programme be on course if such a statement had been released in November 2015? What was the current status of the modernisation programme?
He said that another implication that would have arisen as a result of all of that, would have been the inadequacy of the currency hedging which had caused the contract to increase from R3.5 billion to R5 billion and a decrease in the number of initially expected locomotives from 88 to 70. What were the real projections around the modernisation programme; how frequently would PRASA revisit the schedule of the amount for the number of expected extra locomotives that would come? Mr Hunsinger was aware that all those elements were sub judice; therefore the programme definitely could not be on course if there was that court case as well, in trying to stop modernisation. What was plan B? Had PRASA ever approached Transnet in trying to get a local effort going in the manufacturing of locomotives? When he had asked the question of Minister Peters; she had replied that there had never been such discussions. Therefore he wanted to know why PRASA had never done that.
Mr Hunsinger was also concerned about some repetitive findings by the Auditor-General on PRASA’s finances. Repetitive findings generally indicated a systemic problem rather than individual oversight situations or negligence. There were also major gaps between the oversight disciplines and particular management issues; therefore he required to know what specific plans there were as he was quite taken with the frankness and enthusiasm of the AGCEO. What measures would be considered in closing the gap between the very critical oversight functions and management disciplines that one would want to see in a company like PRASA.
On the cleaning up process in which Dr Molefe was engaged, regarding the affidavits: the work of Werksmans Attorneys had been on an instruction of the Public Protector (PP) and what had been revealed had been triggered by the discovery from the PP investigation, what other findings had there been and what other investigation was there beyond the scope that had been prescribed by the PP? Or was PRASA only going to investigate as prescribed by the PP?
Mr M Sibande (ANC) said that he agreed that the AGCEO presentation had been frank but what was confusing was that he had also said PRASA had a good story to tell though no one was telling Parliament about those stories. He said he had not received a response from PRASA on his comment about the salaries at the Agency. He reiterated that the presentation had been in accordance with section 52 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). The Chairperson of PRASA’s BoC had referred the Committee to section 217 of the Constitution in response to Mr Sibande’s comment that the very Constitution stipulated the consultation of the Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters, before going ahead with salary increases. Mr Sibande reminded PRASA and its BoC that in terms of section 29 of the PFMA the Agency was an accounting authority. In terms of the King Code of Governance Principles and the King Report on Governance (King III) Chapter 14: Remuneration of directors and senior executives, it had been stipulated that: Companies should disclose the remuneration of each individual director and certain senior executives.
Shareholders should approve the company’s remuneration policy and that meant the decision by PRASA on remuneration without the Minister’s approval meant a contravention of good governance principles which was very worrying. An additional complication is that no one had responded to his question on how many meetings the BoC had held as the guidelines had stipulated that there needed to be only four meetings per year whereas PRASA’s BoC had met 16 times where the directors were paid per meeting. More worrying was that those salaries were in the public domain where National Treasury guidelines specified how they were to be structured. He also wanted to know how much the company car had cost and what other sundry costs the car was incurring as it was in use.
Worryingly there was a trend where certain decisions were taken without consulting those who were empowered to give PRASA a budget in terms of following protocol. Parliament was aware that the BoC accounted to the Minister but the Committee needed clarity on certain BoC decisions.
If there had ever been any consultation with the Minister on some decisions as alluded to by the BoC chairman, Mr Sibande proposed that until such proof could be produced the meeting had to be adjourned. It had to be simple enough to access such information as everything could be electronically documented nowadays.
The Chairperson said that she believed that everything the Committee requested the previous day would have been submitted to the Committee secretary for perusal of Committee members. Therefore Mr Sibande’s proposal would certainly be catered for in those submissions.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said as he had asked about the payment to Werksmans he wanted to also know how the R83 million payments to that law firm had been approved; who had tested that there had been value for money and therefore the invoice to PRASA had to be paid: had it been the BoC or was it the GCEO? Though there had been another GCEO at the time there would have been a resolution to pay and therefore Mr Ramatlakane wanted the resolution to be presented to the Committee.
As he had raised the issue of the BoC the previous day, Mr Ramatlakane had though that overnight there would have been some arrangement for some other BoC directors to appear before the Committee today. He still did not see the directors that frequented some meetings and his issue was that in terms of the accountability model of BoC, it was the directors that accounted to the Committee and not just the chairman and one representative of the shareholder with the AGCEO. The Committee had not been given a satisfactory answer as to why the BoC could not attend the Committee meeting when they had attended 14 other extraordinary meetings convened by the very BoC. That raised the question of whether the BoC was accountable and functional or had they deliberately decided to stay away from the meeting having read media reports about the proceedings of the previous day?
It had been reported the previous day that the disputed locomotives were parked somewhere and if all of them were parked how was PRASA hauling long distance travel? Had it bought second hand locomotives somewhere? If that had happened from where did the budget to do so come? Mr Ramatlakane also needed more details about the car; its logbook for the car use so far.
It had come to Mr Ramatlakane’s attention that recently there had been an extraordinary BoC meeting where a watershed resolution had been taken to dismiss the AGCEO and the Committee had not been briefed on that and he was respectfully requesting PRASA and the chairman to appraise the Committee of that development and to also submit a copy of the minutes of that meeting to the Committee. He accepted that the Chairperson had spoken to Mr Sibande’s request to halt proceedings in lieu of the requested outstanding documentation but, if the secretariat had not been appraised of the documentation, he was appealing to the Chairperson to pause proceedings to allow PRASA to get its papers in order. He also wanted details on the reinstatement of all those employees that had been suspended just before the new BoC appointments and communication tender which had gone to Fore Front Solution (FFS) and the new BoC appointments.
The Chairperson said that she would allow two last questions and thereafter halt proceedings to allow PRASA to get the outstanding documents before the Agency responded.
Ms D Carter (COPE) said she understood that ISO 9000 certification bodies and annual auditing of PRASA was really an expensive exercise; had it been budgeted for and how far was the implementation process?
She requested that PRASA not only submit minutes of the extraordinary meeting that Mr Ramatlakane had asked for but also the minutes for all BoC meetings since 2014. She also requested a copy of the Werksmans report even if that would be for members’ eyes only, so as to be able separate media rumours from what had actually been uncovered by Werksmans investigations.
Mr Sibande said he would like PRASA to take the Committee on board in terms of appointments of legal firms to investigate as the Committee had discovered some time ago with Road Accident Fund (RAF) that legal firms sometimes inflated their bills for work completed on behalf of government departments. He wanted some detail on PRASA’s relationship with Werksmans.
The Chairperson said some of the requested documentation was anticipated for later submission such as the minutes dating back to 2014 but certainly those that had been requested from the previous day she would adjourn proceedings to allow PRASA to get said documentation together.
Ms Carter asked whether the documents included the Werksmans report she had asked for.
The Chairperson replied that a preliminary report could certainly be submitted if it was available but as the investigation was still ongoing she anticipated that it would be submitted later which was acceptable.
Returning from the adjournment the Chairperson requested that the PRASA’s BoC chairman respond first before the delegation which had accompanied him.
Dr Popo Molefe, BoC Chairman: PRASA, said that he would request that part of the responses by PRASA be ‘in committee’ and the media vacate the meeting.
The Chairperson replied that in terms of parliamentary process Portfolio Committee meetings were public. In the eventuality that there were issues that needed to be ‘in committee’ the process was that there would have been an application to the Speaker’s office prior the meeting taken place. Since that had not occurred the media would not vacate and Dr Molefe would have to respond on record.
Mr M De Freitas (DA) was interested in knowing why Dr Molefe would want to reply ‘in committee’.
Dr Molefe replied that the difficulty was that there was no way for PRASA to have pre-empted that there would be issues it would want to discuss ‘in committee’. Additionally there were serious matters which were sub judice though some member could dispute that and the concern was that some responses could prejudice the litigation before the court. However, as the Chairperson had ruled, PRASA would respond and decide how to manoeuvre without prejudicing matters.
Ms Carter said the minutes that the Committee had received were for December 2015 and she would request the company group secretary (CGS) to retrieve and submit all the minutes as she had originally requested whilst the meeting was proceeding.
Mr Collins Letsoalo, AGCEO: PRASA, said that PRASA had a panel where his understanding was that Werksmans was part of that legal panel. The law firm had been appointed in that respect.
There had been suspensions in 2015 but to the best of his knowledge FFS was no longer a service provider. Mr Tiro Holele, General Manager: Corporate Services at PRASA would certainly give further input on that.
Regarding the inadequacy of currency hedging, PRASA had bought the passenger trains from Gibela Rail Transport Consortium to the value of R57 billion which amounted to 600 trains. PRASA had then bought 88 locomotives from Swifambo Rail Leasing before the Rand took a knock and the agency ended up taking 70 instead. Hedging was a business decision that was taken from time to time. For example, part of the work that Mr Letsoalo had been doing at the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) was the turnaround strategy for South African Airways (SAA). At SAA people had hedged as they had believed the Rand would weaken, the Rand however had strengthened considerably and SAA lost big foreign exchange.
PRASA management had decided to take 70 instead of paying for the extra 18 locomotives because it had found no scientific determination on how the decision to buy 88 had been arrived upon. PRASA had simply had the money originally to afford 88 when it knew it needed more locomotives but when the rand weakened it could afford 70, but as it weakens further PRASA affords fewer and fewer locomotives. Indeed that affected business operations because when there was a service provider contracted but it emerged that the procurement was irregular and potentially illegal; suddenly there was no need for the locomotives though at the time of purchasing there had been a need and the need remained to date.
The delivered locomotives were parked because the argument in court was that there had been no contract in the first place and even if it had existed, PRASA wanted it set aside. PRASA had planned to test the locomotives, commission them and then they would have been used but how then was the Agency to do that with something that potentially did not belong to it.
Transnet had bought locomotives from GE Transportation and PRASA had discussed with Transnet the fact that PRASA was the biggest owner of rail infrastructure and operators in SA; therefore it was logical that the two companies worked together to capacitate the rail industry. With both companies having developed manufacturing facilities there was an opportunity to further develop and buy some technology if that had to be done, in order to capacitate the rail industry to ensure that in future all rail components and manufacturing could be done within SA.
In terms of repeat findings by Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA), Mr Letsoalo said those were consequences of breach of controls. To remedy repeat findings by AGSA, one had to implement the recommendations of AGSA. Sometimes implementation of the recommendations was not always easy for example, if AGSA found that the appointment of Collins Letsoalo was irregular, PRASA could not simply go and fire Collins since when he had applied for the position he was not responsible for a breach in PRASA’s controls. The best would be to ensure that controls were in place so that there were longer irregular appointments in future. Another problem that had been picked up at PRASA by Senior Management (SM) was the lack of focus on risk management and he thought that had resulted in a situation that it was difficult for PRASA to achieve its objectives. Once one saw 47%, one’s first thought was to check what risks had been realised. Thereafter one would return to one’s risk assessment to see why one had missed risks or how had it been that when a risk had been picked up, controls had not been put in place. Additionally the SM had discovered that PRASA’s internal audit plan had not been risk based. That meant the plan did not speak to identified risks and PRASA had had its first assessment in at least 12 months in the week of the 22/08/2016. Since PRASA already had a corporate plan that had targets PRASA had to adhere to, SM speculated that a situation would arise where a risk would not have been picked up therefore PRASA would record it as an emerging risk so that measures to mitigate would be put in place. It was important therefore for PRASA to keep to the risk based approach.
The salaries matter was a big problem at PRASA as every employee there could attest to. Firstly when SM had held discussions with staff the first complaint was about parity. When SM conducted a review it discovered PRASA had done three parity adjustments over the recent past ending up with the same challenges each time. What caused that was that in the implementation plan of a parity adjustment, it depended which region of SA it was being implemented at and how the manager there interpreted the adjustment. There was Human Resources (HR) in corporate which were headquarters (HQ) for all SA, then there was a head office for PRASA rail operations, PRASA Corporate Real Estate Solutions (CRES), PRASA Technical (PRASATech) and finally there were the regions. All of those divisions each had a separate Human Capital Management (HCM) manager who then interpreted adjustments and other company policies differently. Certainly therefore SM had found highly irregular happenstances. For instance, SM had been told that in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) at a PRASA award ceremony: some manager had simply arrived and informed officials that they had all been promoted. As there were no such positions there were situations where officials were acting in positions that did not exist in PRASA’s structure. That had been why Mr Letsoalo had previously reported that what was on PRASA’s system and its structure were two very different things. Salaries were very big at PRASA with SMs earning anywhere between R900 000 to R4.5 million without including the AGCEO which was around R6 million to R6.5 million; therefore the variations were big whereas the work was not commensurate, as there were people at PRASA that worked very hard whereas there were others that did not pitch for work.
Mr Letsoalo suspected that the car referred to were the three Mercedes Benz vehicles that had been bought by his predecessor. The predecessor had arrived at a dealership in Menlyn, Pretoria and told the salespeople that he was there to purchase three S-class luxury Benzes. He had then called Supply Chain Management (SCM) and told them to purchase the vehicles: Irregular expenditure to the tune of between R1.3 to R3. 9 million for all the cars. The vehicles were allocated to the chairman of the BoC and two were allocated to the CEO. One vehicle was parked in Cape Town, another was in Pretoria and the last one was somewhere in Gauteng; and its location was being kept secret as the chairman of the BoC of PRASA had a security detail for known reasons.
The vehicle allocated to the BoC chairman of the BoC had been for purposes of PRASA business but because it was a R1.4 million asset waiting for a meeting, the BoC had decided that the vehicle had to be used by other BoC members for PRASA work, though the security detail of the Chairman would have liked otherwise. A logbook was kept for the use of the car and it could be disclosed if the Committee allowed PRASA to remove certain parts of the logbook. Where it was kept was a matter of security.
PRASA had paid Werksmans R93 million to date and there were invoices that were compounding and accruing going forward as the work was ongoing. The payment had been approved in terms of any other similar payment as PRASA nominated someone as a programme manager and in the case of that investigation, the BoC had kept records of that process. The BoC had resolved that the chairman would sign affidavits, consequently the Risk Committee chairperson and the BoC chairman had been appointed as the people who would deal with Werksmans; that resolution would be made available to the Committee. As end-users those nominees would know whether work had been completed or not and when they were satisfied that bill would be given to PRASA legal to process. The company secretary with PRASA’s head of legal would sign the invoice which would then go through to the finance division for final processing and ultimately payment would be made.
Mr Letsoalo said that when a matter was before the court it was difficult to make conclusive decisions as the court could find in two ways. What would happen if the court did not find in favour of PRASA in the matter of the locomotives? What would happen to the parked locomotives was the dilemma PRASA found itself in. From time to time PRASA approached Transnet which then leased PRASA some type of locomotives. The budget to lease the locomotives came from the Operational Expenditure (Opex) budget that PRASA still had as the locomotives were still to be tested: Of course using that Opex budget was not ideal as it created problems.
At a recent Finance, Capital Investment and Procurement Committee (FCIP), PRASA had passed a policy to deal with car utilisation at PRASA to avoid misuse and to bring accountability.
Mr Tiro Holele, General Manager: Corporate Services, PRASA, said that FFS was indeed no longer a service provider for PRASA. Forefront had been appointed for a period of five months in 2015 from August to December of that year to assist the communications division with dealing with all public relations (PR) matters at that time.
Mr Letsoalo said that FFS had been dealt with in terms of section 16A.6.4 of Treasury regulations which read: ‘If in a specific case it is impractical to invite competitive bids, the accounting officer or accounting authority may procure the required goods or services by other means, provided that the reasons for deviating from inviting competitive bids must be recorded and approved by the accounting officer or accounting authority’.
Some employees had indeed been suspended by PRASA and had been processed through disciplinary proceedings. However, the proceedings had not been concluded. PRASA was finalising the matters though. A full report could be provided to the Committee if so required.
In terms of reinstatement there had been instances where employees had been out of PRASA for a long period. Senior counsel opinion had been sought where the view came back that in most of such instances there had been abuse of the disciplinary process in PRASA. People had just been kicked out of PRASA for no reason and that was evidenced by the number of cases PRASA had lost at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). Since his arrival at PRASA, the BoC had asked for all the CCMA rulings against PRASA and whether they had been implemented or not. More frustrating was that people with arbitration awards had just been sitting outside of PRASA with SM ignoring them. In correcting those matters PRASA was paying R150 000 for a constructive dismissal of a personal assistant (PA) who had been parked somewhere and was not doing any work.
Regarding ISO 9000 certification bodies, SM had discovered that in regions the implementation had already been done therefore all that remained were pre-audits where certifications had been done. What had led to the issues with certification was that HQ had not bedded down the process and procedures for ISO 9000. Consequently when doing work it would get to a point where an entire process would not be ISO accredited. Fortunately, PRASA’s drivers licence card account ISO accreditation had just been finalised. PRASA would do other things itself to reduce the cost of accreditation, but that was a price PRASA was willing to pay for reliability of the service it was rendering to SA. No one would provide a service to PRASA without an ISO accreditation.
The report of the Werksmans investigation would be a matter of public record at some point but the question was whether it could be presented to the Committee before being tabled to the Minister of Transport.
Mr Piet Sebola, Group Executive of Strategic Asset Development, PRASA, said that PRASA had indicated in October 2015 to the Committee that the Afro 5000 issue could not be entertained until such time that the issue had been resolved. The question then became how PRASA would still operate its long distance rail service as that need did not disappear with the parking of the locomotives until court resolution. As had been reported by PRASA to the Committee, indeed PRASA had been actively engaged with Transnet to see if Transnet had any locomotives that could operate the passenger rail network. The engagements were at an advanced stage with Transnet to assist PRASA to be able to haul its long distance rail service to a proper safety and quality standard to its clientele as PRASA had said that it required a locomotive that could start a journey in Johannesburg and end up in Cape Town without having been changed. Transnet did possess a locomotive close to the designated specification by PRASA which Transnet did not use much. PRASA was negotiating to use that locomotive but the only other issue of technicality was that the braking system for the freight system was not comparable for passenger rail. PRASA was also looking into how that could be attended to before taking the locomotive.
PRASA had committed to submitting a detailed modernisation report to the Committee, so that it could see whether PRASA had been derailed or not on its modernisation programme. PRASA had said in October 2015 while responding to the Committee’s question on depots for the long distance rail locomotive that indeed when the new locomotives came they would have been prepared for in terms of facilities to keep them. The Committee would recall that when the Afro 4000 arrived it had been taken to a PRASA prepared facility in Pretoria where 10 locomotives were undergoing a testing process as an example of PRASA’s modernisation programme. Possibly PRASA would have to detail systematically what had been included in the modernisation programme and what had been outside, as there were ongoing differentiated projects that were not part of modernisation.
Dr Molefe said the overarching perspective on accountability was that the BoC’s starting point on the three investigations arising from the PP, AGCEO and others which were internal or of a criminal nature, had had to be done. The Committee’s Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) had required that findings on irregularities by AGSA, be investigated, corrected and that they had to be accounted for before the Committee which was what PRASA had been doing.
He said that Treasury regulations had set out the process by state entities and departments in dealing with irregular expenditure. Therefore in all irregularities at PRASA, that process would be pursued.
The determination of BoC remuneration had not been done on a meeting basis. The Minister of Transport had determined the figure which was actually a retainer in respect of the chairman of the BoC. In respect of other directors and subcommittees of the BoC that would have also been articulated by the Minister. The BoC had therefore never determined what a director would be paid outside of what been defined by Minister Peters. There had been an instance related to the discussion Dr Molefe had referred to which had taken place in the BoC. This had started off in the Human Resources and Remuneration Committee (HR and Remco) where the Remco chairperson and the then AGCEO had signed off on a resolution from that discussion. They had relied on a provision in a PRASA policy that directors needed to be paid for all meetings the BoC had held. That determination had been made in April 2015 when the chairman had been out of SA. Up until that discussion and resolution, directors had not being paid for meetings outside of what had been defined by Minister Peters except the ad hoc subcommittee of the BoC which had lasted six months and had been dealing with that period of transition to assist the then AGCEO that had just been appointed, Mr Nathi Khena. The objective of that ad hoc subcommittee had been to stabilise the environment and company and therefore that committee would have been paid a certain fee for sittings.
The matter of adjusted remuneration of directors had emanated from the complaints that PRASA directors had been working very hard without being remunerated in a way that was commensurate to the effort they were putting into PRASA. The CGS and the chairman had been instructed to look into the matter, after much consideration they had said that process had to involve the consent of Minister Peters as Executive Authority (EA). At that point Dr Molefe had not seen the provision in PRASA’s policy which referred to subcommittees of the BoC and how they had to be remunerated. Dr Molefe and the CGS continued engaging Minister Peters where the hope had been that she would consult Treasury as, in the final analysis, Treasury concurrence would have been needed. In his absence the decision on adjusting director remuneration had been taken and implemented with the assumption that all the compliance issues would have been met. AGSA had been engaged on the adjustments where it had disagreed with the adjustments. At that point the chairman had told the BoC that there were two ways about that disagreement with AGSA; first the Minister of Transport would have to be approached for approval of the adjustment and to regularise it. In Dr Molefe’s absence, the acting chairman had been Mr William Steenkamp who he had reminded that the matter of the adjustment for directors had to be considered even in his absence and it had been resolved in the manner stated above. In that resolution and discussing it further with AGSA, it had been considered as to how much the adjustment would cost PRASA per director. In respect of the chairman the extrapolation would have meant R75 000 per sitting and working backwards to meetings of the BoC from 2014 calculations were made for every director and the totals were immediately paid to each individual director.
The BoC, after deliberating on the adjustments and concluding that there had been a difference of opinion and interpretation of the policy provision, had instructed the CGS to get a legal opinion. To the extent that those adjustments would be regarded as irregular, Dr Molefe had advised that the monies paid to directors had to be paid back. Following that, the resolution further said that the BoC had, in the event that the resolution was not agreed to with the Minister, the BoC fees to the directors had to be stopped so the monies could be recovered from those BoC fees as well. The chairman had already started complying with the resolution to pay back that money. Therefore the BoC always sought to act in a manner that reflected integrity and honesty.
Director Steenkamp had been charged with continuing to engage the Minister in that regard however, all of the matters emerged at a time when politicians were crisscrossing the country campaigning for the local government elections. As a result it had been difficult to access Minister Peters but the process to recover adjusted BoC fees was still underway in the context of Treasury regulations.
Dr Molefe said that he had been aware of the purchase of the luxury vehicles and had requested former CEO Mr Lucky Montana to ensure that the purchase complied with all policies. Mr Montana had replied that the purchase was being done as part of the fleet of the company which Dr Molefe thought was what the former CEO had motivated for in the requisition to PRASA’s Finance Division. The chairman had never asked for a car. When the car came Dr Molefe personally reviewed PRASA’s fleet policy to see if it had been provided for, and when he could not find such a provision he had reported that to the BoC on the 28 May 2015. He had asked the BoC to take the car as he could not use it further as the matter was being considered; he had been asked to recuse himself from those proceedings. As Mr Montana had been part of those proceedings, he had told the BoC in Dr Molefe’s absence that the car was for use by all directors and not the chairman specifically. On that basis, the chairman had been advised that a decision had been taken to amend the fleet policy to provide for the vehicles. Dr Molefe had also said to the Group Chief Financial Officer (GCFO) that he had a concern about the vehicle gathering dust whilst its value depreciated annually, and could he look into what could be done with the car.
Dr Molefe said that certainly the EA was empowered to determine whether or not PRASA’s BoC had to be changed and that could be done away from the BoC. His only concern was that discussing a matter like that with legal implications in a forum like a Portfolio Committee meeting could actually impugn the right of the people and could give the impression that when the EA could decide to act, that would have been on the imposition of the Portfolio Committee. Certainly Dr Molefe did not think the Committee would prefer such a situation to occur.
On the extraordinary meeting by the BoC where it had been alleged that the BoC had resolved to relieve Mr Letsoalo of his responsibilities as AGCEO; indeed there had been a meeting on the 16 August 2016. The request for such a meeting came after the time limit which Treasury had given PRASA for the extension that the BoC had requested to be allowed time to resolve issues with AGSA, as PRASA had had major disputes with AGSA’s qualification of PRASA’s financial statements report. PRASA had refused to sign a report that was qualifying the Agency when it disagreed with the basis upon which PRASA would be qualified. AGSA and the EA had agreed to the extension and Treasury agreed as well after the EA had communicated with Treasury on that 14 days extension. The extension had ended on 14 August 2016. Since 14 August was on a Sunday, the chairman had had to write to AGSA that PRASA had agreed to sign the audit report since AGSA had removed the major issues on the basis of which AGSA had wanted to qualify PRASA’s statements. After that letter had been sent, the chairman had sought ratification from the BoC in the meeting of the 16 August for the mandate he had given AGSA to go on finalising PRASA’s audit report. That was the agenda the chairman had thought to occupy the BoC at that meeting However, some people at that meeting wanted to talk about the attitude of the current AGCEO and HR matters. The chairman had briefed the AGCEO about the sentiments of the directors who wanted to discuss that at the 16 August meeting. The chairman had said to the BoC that if a meeting was held about an individual’s attitude without giving that individual an opportunity to moderate what had been perceived as an attitude, this would be improper. At some point that individual would have to be given a chance to moderate said attitude. The BoC had reflected on what would be an appropriate time to hold such a meeting as the AGCEO had been busy with PRASA roadshows in KZN and would be going to the Western Cape thereafter. The chairman had discussed with Mr Letsoalo about an adjustment of timing so that he could attend the BoC meeting. Mr Letsoalo said the BoC meeting was ‘in committee’ and the chairman had then left Mr Letsoalo to continue with his work as the matter of Mr Letsoalo’s attitude would be raised formally for the first time with the assumption that no major decisions would be made on that basis. At the meeting, the chairman had advised directors that there were a number of procedural things that needed processing as the prevailing view had been to terminate Mr Letsoalo’s contract. First off, the PRASA BoC had ‘owned’ the appointment of Mr Letsoalo though he had been seconded by Minister Peters therefore the BoC could not reflect on the matter as if the AGCEO had only been seconded. Secondly that BoC sentiment would require the chairman to meet with Minister Peters for a briefing before writing a cold letter to her about the BoC’s sentiments over Mr Letsoalo. The following step would be if the BoC was asking for the AGCEOs head, there had to be a legal opinion as well as to then find a replacement. The BoC had reflected on that at that meeting and selected fairly senior and competent people which the chairman did not think it fair to declare their names.
There had been directors that had been absent from that meeting where the chairman had also advised that firstly the BoC had to waive the notice period for a sitting so the meeting could be deemed a legal meeting. Secondly, the directors that had been absent had to be asked to waive their individual notices in writing as well. The chairman had indeed called all three absent directors. He however was not aware if any written notice waiver had been submitted to the CGS. There had been a number of directors that the chairman had briefed of the resolution of the 16 August meeting and they had raised concerns about the stability of PRASA as the GCEO had just left and that the AGCEO had just arrived. The BoC wanting another change would impact on PRASA’s stability.
When the chairman got the opportunity to brief Minister Peters she had declined to agree to the BoC’s resolution on Mr Letsoalo contract. He had asked her to meet with the BoC to further discuss the matter. The PRASA BoC would be meeting with Minister Peters on 02 September 2016 on that. From where the chairman was sitting, when the Minister whom PRASA had to work with, disagreed with the BoC of the Agency which had to get approvals from her on a whole range of other issues; it was important for the Agency to act in a manner that did not antagonise the EA. As all of those matters were internal, the BoC had not seen it important to report on that the previous day.
In terms of Werksmans appointment and billing, the BoC had insisted that Werksmans subcontractors had to charge the AGSA approved rates and AGSA approved rates were 40% less than the standard rates. PRASA was aware that the investigations were not on small amounts but about R14 billion irregular expenditure of state resources, therefore it would a bit bizarre to try a do a trade-off between a R100 million bill for an investigation into R14 billion.
Indeed there were guidelines for the holding of BoC meetings and the King Code of Governance Principles and the King Report on Governance (King III), Treasury regulations and even the Companies Act all stipulated a minimum number of meetings whilst also providing for extraordinary meetings of the BoC. If there was work to be done, the guidelines were a guide and not a restriction for work not to be completed. That, however, had nothing to do with whether people would get paid or not as the norm was that people in companies got paid for extra work done and PRASA’s policy in paragraph 17 dealt with the equitable distribution of the work amongst BoC subcommittees. The BoC had had to hold the number of meetings it had held because of the nature of the challenges that PRASA was faced with. Some of those sitting arose from the EA requiring a written report on a particular piece of work at PRASA by a particular date. In a normally functioning organisation, such a request would simply be asked from the GCEO who would then provide the report to the Minister. However, at PRASA it had not been like that. Therefore there would have to be a BoC meeting where a report would be demanded from SM. Sometimes a BoC meeting discussion on a particular request would have to wait for the former AGCEO to source the information as it would not be readily available to hand; the BoC would then have to call the executive responsible to submit such a report directly to the BoC.
In terms of PRASA’s communication with the public, the matter had been raised by the Committee, the Minister sharply and PRASA's SM had started dealing with those matters.
On why the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and other organs of state had not been used on the PRASA investigations: as there had been a requirement for a forensic investigation part of PRASA’s introspection in terms of the amount of damage done, the Agency felt it proper to get a reputable company with a track record that had the ability to deal with such matters. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) finance division had been part of the investigations and had told PRASA that the Hawks did not have the resources to undertake that massive investigation. The DPCI finance division had asked PRASA to assist it with subcontracting Horwath Forensics which would be reporting directly to the Hawks. Dr Molefe reminded the Committee that sections of the PPs ‘derailed’ report into PRASA said that the investigation would not be a standard one because the PP was highlighting certain things in PRASA’s systems and controls that needed to be streamlined. All that the leadership of PRASA was trying to do was to ensure that it became a better, stronger company with fine tuned financial and supply chain management (SCM) controls.
Dr Molefe said he had heard that it had been alleged that he said PRASA had paid the ANC R80 million. PRASA had never paid the ANC such money and he had never said such as well. For the record what the media had reported on had been records before the court where there had been a section of people that had been paid money by a person associated with PRASA that had won a contract for the disputed locomotives. The individual had said that he had been directed to pay that section of people and the people he had paid had then said that when they had received the money they donate that money to the ANC. As the chairman, Dr Molefe said he did not need a political platform as he only wanted to serve in whatever capacity as honestly as possible. Additionally the Secretary General of the ANC had declared that the ANC had never received such monies and anyone who had used the ANC name to collect money had to be dealt with appropriately.
The AGCEO said that on the 28 July 2016 he had attended a PRASA extraordinary BoC meeting which was the only one he had attended since appointment. Discussions had been held and decisions which he had taken from the 1 July to the 28 July, which had been from the first day of his tenure, had been stated for the record at that meeting. As tough as some of those decisions had been, which included the need to discipline certain people, had been acceptable to the BoC; which was at the point of his departure from that BoC meeting. Anything else regarding his attitude had not come up in his presence.
The Chairperson proposed that she would allow members to further engage on the premise that the item on Metrorail concerns be postponed, so the proceedings continue with PRASA matters only. She was also proposing that in view of the Committee needing BoC meeting minutes dating two years; PRASA had to be allowed at least three weeks to gather all that information, including all the outstanding documentation the Committee required.
Mr M Maswanganyi (ANC) said he needed clarity on the seriousness with which PRASA’s BoC took the Committee, as having only the chairman there implied. There was also a matter of the missing Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as well. More concerning was that the BoC could raise its own allowances but could not attend parliamentary inquiries. Seemingly PRASA also did not have confidence in the South African Police Service (SAPS) though it had confidence in the Public Protector. If that was the case, Mr Maswanganyi requested the Committee to find time with the Minister of Police and the National Commissioner to account why SAPS had no capacity to investigate issues of the nature that had occurred at PRASA. The BoC had never received approval from the EA for the increases in its directors’ allowances according to records before the Committee and therefore the BoC had to ‘pay back that money’.
In the shareholders compact, it had said that: ‘PRASA would be required to furnish the DoT and Minister Peters in writing on request with any information as may be required from time to time. PRASA would have to provide the Minister with copies of the agendas, reports and resolutions of the BoC. However, it did not seem like the Minister had been receiving the documentation as stipulated. The BoC seemed to be doing things willy-nilly as it had requested to meet the Minister about Mr Letsoalo but could not come to Parliament to account. Mr Maswanganyi appealed that the Committee had to take the BoC’s defiance very seriously.
He then quoted a radio clip and a newspaper article that spoke to affidavits by the BoC chairman where he is quoted as saying PRASA had paid the ANC R80 million. If Dr Molefe had not said what had been alleged he said, he had to take the matter up with the Press Ombudsman.
Mr Maswanganyi certainly had a problem with spending R93 million on one private legal firm for services rendered and especially with the justification by the chairman that the Committee was speaking in bizarre terms. There was nothing odd with the Committee and it was problematic for an accounting authority to imply that of the concerns of Committee members.
He had been reading the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) media statements on derailments and collisions and those were continuing unabated which was what the Committee wanted to deal with. However, it was being sidetracked by recent developments at PRASA which it could not overlook and be silent on.
Mr Ramatlakane said that practically he supported the rescheduling of Metrorail as the Committee not happy with developments there. From the AGCEO report, PRASA was looking at paying Werksmans over R100 million in invoices for the investigation and that fell under irregular expenditure as there had been no set aside budget or line item for such expenditure. On the 11 September 2015, the Committee had told PRASA to not continue if it did not have the budget to investigate but the BoC went ahead irrespective of that caution. The Committee accepted that the Public Protector’s recommendations had to be implemented but she had directed PRASA to engage Treasury to do the investigation in the knowledge that if Treasury believed there was a need for more resources it would make them available to continue with the investigation. That had not been spoken to except for the BoC to say it had opted for a corporate person from its own panel; what had been difficult in implementing the recommendation regarding Treasury?
In terms of the Companies Act, who was the accounting officer of PRASA as the AGCEO had said the chairman and the Risk Committee chairperson were responsible for dealing with Werksmans? What had been the authority or the basis of that decision as it was irregular in terms of Mr Ramatlakane’s understanding
It would be useful for the Committee to be made familiar with who ran Forefront Solutions and to be appraised of a copy of the motivation used that enabled no tendering process before it had been appointed.
When the luxury company car had been in use there were tax implications, which was why the South African Revenue Services (SARS) was strict about ensuring delineation of activities; possibly an answer even in writing would be useful as to what had been found to be things that would have to be removed from the logbook, if the Committee wanted to see it.
The records before the Committee regarding the resolutions and implementation of BoC fee increases for extraordinary sittings had been signed by two board members and the former AGCEO without there being any space where the Minister would have been able to sign as the shareholder. The anomaly was that a BoC could not approve its own expenses. As soon as that happened that would call into question the fee increases of the BoC.
The BoC had told the Committee to trust it when reporting on the 11 September 2015 but the Committee had had to drag the information out of the BoC for the policy decision on the fee increments for directors, seemingly as it had not been meant for transparency. The total for those payments was R3 million, where was that money coming from? How was the Committee to then trust the BoC? That was also why the Committee had required the presence of the CFO.
Sooner or later the Committee would have to be told how PRASA planned to lease locomotives from Transnet as the AGCEO had lamented the fact that Opex had not been meant for that. Previously PRASA had reported that it was struggling to pay its suppliers within the stipulated 30 days.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted clarity on why ‘in committee meetings’ excluded the AGCEO as there could not be a BoC without that official. As such, he also wanted that provision to be given to the Committee. He also reminded PRASA that the BoC resolution had not been submitted yet to the Committee.
Mr Sibande said that the AGCEO said he had attended the 16 August 2016 meeting, though he had not been aware of the resolution to have him dismissed; that confused Mr Sibande. Was the car which was being used by the BoC chairman part of the three luxury vehicles or an additional one?
How long had been the investigation by Werksmans and what criteria had been used to determine how much PRASA was liable for in invoices?
PRASA had to note that though the ANC was the ruling party, it would not keep quiet about wrongdoing. The party had cautioned PRASA at the beginning of the investigation about press statements that could not be substantiated.
Ms Xego proposed that the AGCEO do an audit of all PRASA employees against what was on the structure.
Ms Carter added that she would request PRASA to submit to the Committee before the future meeting on Metrorail matters, a schedule of all disciplinary proceedings with the suspension periods of those suspended, salaries paid whilst on suspension and the reasons thereof; the CCMA rulings and the implementation table alluded to by the AGCEO. On the outstanding documentation for BoC meetings, she requested the Committee be provided with agendas, minutes of meetings and the attendance registers.
Mr Hunsinger said there was no question about the importance of managing volatility of monetary processes through hedging and that since that was a prerogative of an organisation on whether to hedge or not he was satisfied with PRASA’s responses on that. His original question was about the statement made the previous day that everything was on course at PRASA. Looking at the delivery sequence of what had been promised in prior meetings on the number of locomotives and coaches expected at particular times in that sequence; that had created expectations from the public about the operational management of passenger rail services to then expect an increase in capacity and service delivery by a certain date. As to how those had been affected by what actually had transpired to date was what Mr Hunsinger had been interested in. PRASA could not say it was on course and the Committee certainly had more insight than to accept such a blanket statement from PRASA. As a result he was recommending that PRASA submit a revised schedule compared to that which had been submitted, as a lot had transpired in the interim including court cases and other factors. There had to be a plan B; management structures could not be expected to wait whilst battling the operational situation whilst PRASA SM was playing around with about three to four scenarios over which there was uncertainty. There had to be a plan B and C and D as the Committee was not impressing upon PRASA to give over its manufacturing aspirations to Transnet but there was assistance. There were big financial implications in all of those scenarios. For example if the court action was lost or even won: the trains would have to be returned in the condition they had been received in. There were damaged locomotives and there were financial implications in that. There had to be contingencies for all of that.
In preparation for the next Committee engagement, regarding the PRASA’s internal audit plan not being aligned with its risk assessment, Mr Hunsinger suggested that the Committee would have to review how that would and could be affecting the current strategic and annual performance plans of the Agency. As what had been presented gave the impression that the Committee had to afford PRASA another opportunity to present a revision or transition APP and strategic plan.
If Dr Molefe had been allocated a Mercedes then certainly there would have been a tax issue as the car had to be part of his personal remuneration. Therefore it would have had to be declared and therefore there was a case to be made of tax avoidance not only to him but the situation of the other two Mercedes Benzes and whether they had also been allocated for private use. Mr Hunsinger needed clarity on all those vehicles.
To what extent would there have to be realignment with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in terms of the structure of PRASA not being aligned with what was on the system? In fixing that, Mr Hunsinger recommended that certain KPIs be used to measure that transition process together with a timeframe.
His recommendation therefore was that those responses be prepared for by PRASA rather than a dialogue as the Agency was not there yet.
Mr Sibande was concerned about why Dr Molefe had wanted the media to vacate proceedings as he could not reconcile Dr Molefe’s’ request with what had transpired since. He asked whether PRASA was as compliant as it advocated for the respect of Chapter Nine institutions when there was so much contradiction in some of the responses the leadership was giving. First the chairman had not been present when the BoC had resolved to increase its fees and on the 16 August 2016 BoC meeting the chairman had also been sick though he been able to submit an affidavit to the court pertaining to ANC beneficiation from PRASA.
Mr Sibande requested that Dr Molefe had to then clarify himself to the public if indeed he had never said such things about the ANC.
He agreed with Mr Hunsinger proposal on KPIs and their need to be developed to measure the transition period at PRASA. Moreover he requested that at the future meeting on Metrorail issues, the full PRASA BoC come before Parliament so the Committee could verify whether meetings actually sat, how functional the BoC had been to date.
If indeed PRASA respected Chapter Nine institutions why was it continuously breaching the Treasury regulations?
Had PRASA ever had a functional risk management unit as price inflation continued at PRASA? Or was it that some people thought that through chicanery debauchery they could pull wool over the Committee? It was unfair to be silver tongued when accounting to the Committee by presenting something different from what had been presented to the media and the public. How was the Committee to evaluate the current BoC?
Mr Sibande needed only the criteria and provisions used to extend the life of the BoC ad hoc subcommittee so that BoC meetings totalled 16 instead of the four annually prescribed without consulting DoT as the majority shareholder? What was the number of directors was needed to constitute a quorum for BoC meetings?
Mr S Mabika (NFP) had observed that PRASA challenges were far from being put to bed as the BoC and SM were not speaking with a unified voice. He was also unclear about the BoC salaries which had increased during the chairman’s sojourn out of the country; further compounding that was his curiosity about how the chairman measured hard work when challenges were abounding at the Agency. What had been so wonderful about SM work when in the same vein the chairman had reported that it could take up to three months to get information from the former SM? The AGCEO had categorically stated that PRASA lacked focus on risk management and that the audit plan had not been risk based but the chairman wanted the Committee to accept that the BoC had been hard working.
Ms Xego said she had expected apologies about the absence of some BoC directors and she had been glad when the chairman had commented that he was a leader. However, if there were no apologies on whose behalf was the chairman speaking. She seconded the proposal that the full complement of BoC directors come to the Committee in future. She was concerned though that the BoC had already had issues with Mr Letsoalo’s attitude as he had served for such a short time. She was recommending that the Committee familiarise the Minister with what it had observed over the two days so that action could be taken to rescue PRASA from itself. She was appealing to the BoC to open doors for PRASA SM to do their work.
Mr S Radebe (ANC) observed that the Committee wanted the full complement of BoC before the Committee. He, however, maintained his proposal from the previous day that #PRASABoardmustFall. He said that the appointment of Werksmans had been strategic because the PP and AGSA had clearly directed PRASA to approach Treasury for the investigation.
He said that when Dr Popo Molefe had been Armscor board chairman, Werksmans had been appointed to investigate irregularities there. A lot of money had been looted there and he had left that company in an unstable condition. Similarly when Dr Molefe had chaired the PetroSA BoC during Mr Radebe’s tenure as member of the Portfolio Committee on Energy, Werksmans had also been involved. What agitated Mr Radebe was that Dr Molefe was threatening the Committee with legal processes but he was happy that the Minister was obligated to review the contracts of the current BoC in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and his plea was that the entire BoC be dismissed there.
Mr Radebe said that if the AGCEO was closing all the leaks he had to seal them very tightly so that there would be no more looting at PRASA. He advised the AGCEO to scrutinise every invoice from the 31 August 2016 until the AGM of 2016. The Committee had told PRASA not to cancel contracts as that would have massive legal implications and the BoC had acquiesced and thereafter went and cancelled contracts. To date PRASA was in a continuing legal tussle as the courts had told PRASA to reinstate the people it had fired with legal costs. Mr Radebe suggested that the Committee had to approach SAPS to investigate Werksmans political and business links.
He said that the AGCEO had to deal with all the suspended people earning money whilst sitting at home, especially some of those that had been purged for not agreeing with PRASA leadership. Mr Radebe said he recalled that the Committee had resolved that all the CEOs had to be afforded a chance to account on their activities in the subsidiaries of PRASA and that had not happened to date. He asked that be allowed in future engagements with PRASA.
The Chairperson said that she would allow CEOs of subsidiaries to introduce themselves as they had been with the Committee since the previous day.
She said it was challenging that the BoC of PRASA took decisions and actions without his presence because he was sitting by himself to account to the Committee on irregular decisions. She said the BoC had to recall the Committee was in charge of appropriation to the DoT and its entities therefore the BoC of PRASA had to take the Committee very seriously. The Chairperson reiterated her statement on the good stories from PRASA which had to be told because the Committee was aware that Intersite and Autopax were performing and those had to be told. PRASA had to also show citizens what effect the torching of coaches and busses in Salt River and Mamelodi had on service delivery. The roadshows had to be about modernisation and all other projects that could give citizens hope that PRASA was working.
She said the Committee had agreed that it would defer the Metrorail discussion but it was a key service provider as it affected citizens daily.
She said that if the AGCEO was a manager on wheels such that he acquainted himself quickly with the content of his work to arrive at sound decisions; then that was commendable of SM commitment. She reiterated that the BoC was disrespectful to the Committee which was why the Committee would want the BoC lock, stock and barrel to be thrown out.
The Chairperson said only three weeks would be allowed for PRASA to return to the Committee with all that had been requested from the Agency where Metrorail would be the first agenda item.
Dr Molefe said that firstly, the Committee had to be aware that after the previous day’s proceedings, he had sent an email to all the directors to come to Parliament as they had been summoned by the Committee.
Secondly he did not think there was much he could say that would change any position or sentiment from the members of the Committee as he had heard all the follow up questions from the Committee.
Eventually he appealed to the Committee to Google him to see which BoCs he had served on as chairman and he was thankful for the Committee’s indulgence.
The Chairperson thanked PRASA and the meeting was adjourned.
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