By Liezl Human

Commuter activist organisation #UniteBehind says Parliament has ignored its complaints against six MPs, including transport minister Fikile Mbalula, implicated in state capture and corruption at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

The organisation first laid a formal complaint in August 2022 to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests, referring to article 10 of Parliament’s Code of Conduct. This lays out the process of investigating a complaint.

#UniteBehind wants the Joint Committee to summon the six MPs to account for their involvement in PRASA’s “slide into almost total ruin”. The organisation wants the committee to take disciplinary action against the MPs, and to suspend or expel them from serving as MPs. #UniteBehind says Sfiso Buthelezi in particular, currently chairperson of the Standing Committee on Appropriations, directly benefited from corruption at PRASA. Buthelezi was former Chairperson of PRASA.

In a letter to Parliament on 5 December #UniteBehind said the MPs were primarily responsible for PRASA collapsing and Parliament had a duty to hold to account members who act unlawfully.

“The number of passenger trips – the key determinant of the health of PRASA’s service – has dropped by 95% since 2009,” the organisation said.

#UniteBehind says it has not even received a confirmation that the complaints have been received. The organisation has urged Parliament to respond by 25 January 2023. If this does not happen, then#UniteBehind plans to approach the Western Cape High Court.

Responding to questions from GroundUp, Bhekizwe Nkosi, co-chairperson of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests, did not say whether Parliament had received the complaints. Nkosi said only that upon the receipt of a complaint, the committee is guided by section 10.2 of the Code of Conduct which lays out the process of investigating a complaint. The committee committed to “the speedy processing of every matter before it”, Nkosi said.

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