Translux and City to City bus services, a division of PRASA are set to shed 350 jobs, says PRASA Chief Executive Zolani Matthews.

Matthews announced plans for the agency’s bus operating subsidiary Autopax Bus Service, which operates the two long-distance bus companies, during a briefing reviewing his first 100 days as Prasa CEO.

He told the media that it had become abundantly clear that Prasa required a review of its bus operations in the form of Autopax.

“Notwithstanding the negative impact of Covid on the bus industry, Prasa had already taken a decision to divisionalise Autopax from its subsidiary.

“Extensive consultation has commenced with labour as some of the plans involve a reduction in employee numbers and currently the target is for a reduction of 350 employees, we are however looking at the possibilities of absorbing a certain number of these into Prasa Group where vacancies are available,” Matthews said.

He added that they hoped that a new model of operations for Autopax would become possible once the divisionalisation process had been established, although this remained a work in progress with engagements ongoing with the Department of Transport and National Treasury.

“This would include a revised mandate on the operations of Autopax to support the primary mandate of Prasa on rail operations,” Matthews said.

Matthews also said that one of the major challenges facing Prasa was on security issues with the agency having been confronted with what Matthews termed as unprecedented levels of vandalism and sabotage.

“Security remains a critical aspect of the rail services. We have introduced various measures including insourcing security functions with over 3 000 employees. We have also commenced engagements with our sister companies in Eskom and Acsa (Airports Company South Africa) to participate in their security contracts.

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“We will be issuing to the market contracts security to support the work we are doing in this space, however Prasa also needs to follow modern interventions which would include the deployment of technology as a force multiplier to protect its assets,” Matthews said.

He added that they had begun procurement processes to source different technology options to assist them with moving away from old security plans and to focus on modern interventions.

“I have also enlisted the services of additional security personnel who are experts in their respective fields to focus on some of security challenges and threats. Their initial assessments have been quite revealing and we will soon make pronouncements around their work,” Matthews said.

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