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Tito Mboweni queries Prasa’s axing of CEO Zolani Matthews over the issue of his dual citizenship

Prasa announced the firing of its CEO Zolani Matthews. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Prasa announced the firing of its CEO Zolani Matthews. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Dec 2, 2021

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Cape Town - Former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has questioned the decision of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to fire its CEO, Zolani Matthews, over dual citizenship.

Mboweni said there were many people who work in State-Owned Entities without being South African citizens.

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He said more clarity was needed on the reasons behind the axing of Matthews.

Mboweni tweeted about the dismissal, saying he disagreed with Prasa’s decision to axe its CEO and called for more clarity on the matter.

“I disagree with the Prasa decision. Could they elaborate. Prasa fires CEO Zolani Matthews over dual citizenship matter. Nothing wrong with dual citizenship. Unless if he denied it when asked. There are many people who don’t even have South African citizenship who work at the SOEs. Unless there is something they are hiding from us. Transparency people”.

In the view of the former finance minister, there is nothing wrong with dual citizenship.

His sentiments came after Prasa made the announcement on Matthews.

The group said this unanimous decision was taken on November 29 following an investigation by senior counsel that established whether Matthews “deliberately or intentionally failed to disclose material information to Prasa in respect of dual citizenship”.

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Coupled with his South African citizenship, Matthews also holds British citizenship.

He was appointed to the top position in February this year. He had apparently been denied security clearance by the State Security Agency, which was a requirement of his employment contract.

“Mr Matthews’s letter of appointment clearly stipulates (as one of the key requirements) that his contract of employment will only be confirmed upon him obtaining favourable security clearance. The State Security Agency (SSA) has since declined to issue Mr Matthews top secret security clearance or any other security clearance,” read Prasa’s statement.

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It further states that Matthews was afforded an opportunity to present his version both orally and in writing by his lawyer. “The findings as contained in the investigation report by the senior counsel were adverse against Mr Matthews. The Board viewed the report in a very serious light and agreed with its recommendation.”

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