Corruption has never ceased to flourish at the misery of ordinary South Africans, and the recent Scorpio investigations serve as the latest proof point.
While ordinary South Africans who rely heavily on public transport, especially trains, are hard hit and struggling to reach their workplaces on time, the latest investigations by Scorpio will further inflict pain on their already open wounds.
Scorpio’s latest investigation points out that some of the R500 million siphoned from a failed contract for the much-needed new locomotives disappeared into a web of private accounts and entities.
These latest revelations implicate that hundreds of millions of rands that should have been used to supply the passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) with new trains were fraudulently diverted to businessman Auswell Mashaba and Makhensa Mabunda and to entities and individuals linked to them.
As some economic analysts have suggested that in modern-day South Africa, black managers in some State Owned Entities (SEO) are to blame for the continued suffering of ordinary South Africans in a post Apartheid era due to their shocking levels of corruption and greed. Scorpio’s investigation on Mashaba and Mabunda confirms that to be true.
Mashaba was a director of the now-liquidated Swifambo rail leasing, a shelf company that clinched R3,5 billion contract to deliver 70 new locomotives to PRASA. While Mabunda was a businessman with longstanding links to PRASA CEO Lucky Montana.
What is disheartening about these latest revelations is that Mashaba used R24,5 million of the alleged Prasa money to acquire a wine and olive farm in Western Cape.
While Swifambo diverted R5 million of the money received from Prasa towards the building costs of a 3,200-metre square mansion in the upmarket Waterfall Equestrian Estate in Gauteng owned by Mabunda and his wife.
A closer look at the Gauteng palatial residence ironically resembles a train station more than an actual house and this prompts one to wonder whether this was a coincidence or a result of a calculated act.