Prasa’s top engineer not registered: report

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) chief engineer, Dr Daniel Mtimkulu is not officially registered as an engineer, reported (link in Afrikaans) on Wednesday (8 July).

Prasa Group CEO Lucky Montana briefed reporters in Pretoria on Monday following reports that South African railway officials imported brand new locomotives from Europe worth hundreds of millions on rands, despite explicit warnings that the trains were not suited for local rail lines.

Montana rejected claims that the locomotives were too tall for local tracks, maintaining that the new trains surpassed standards.

“During our testing, the train passed through tunnels. There is no bridge that was hit. From our side, there is no story. The hype is focused on other things,” he said.

Montana accused the reporter who broke the story of trying to create an impression that incompetent individuals headed Prasa.

Montana suggested that the engineering team was being undermined because the lead engineer is black. He said that the motive for the article ‘was probably a race issue’.

“Maybe because he is black that his authority is not taken seriously,” said Montana. “I am convinced that this story has got nothing to do with height restrictions – what is the story?…If it goes through a bridge, and comes out the other end – what is the story?”

Montana said that Dr Mtimkulu was among the very best engineers. “We are lucky to keep him,” he said, noting that the engineer had been head hunted to work all around the world.

The Afrikaans news network reported on Wednesday that Dr Mtimkulu, manager of engineering services at Prasa, and head of the engineering team that designed the new Afro 4000 locomotives, had his application for registration for The Engineering Council of South Africa ( ECSA) rejected in 2006.

Engineers are required to be registered with ECSA in order to do work for the state, Netwerk24 said.

According to Netwerk24, Mtimkulu claimed he had an engineering sciences degree, obtained from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), before obtaining a doctorate in Germany.

It said that Wits registration office had no record of Dr Mtimkulu as a student at the university, while ECSA told Beeld that Dr Mtimkulu was not registered with the engineering body.

The report said that Prasa did not respond to repeated inquiries about Mtimkulu’s ECSA registration.

The thirteen Afro 4000 diesel locomotives that have so far been delivered to Prasa are worth R600 million and form part of a larger R3.5 billion order for 70 new locomotives.

More on Prasa

Rapport defends Prasa story

Prasa CEO: top engineer targeted because he is black

South Africa’s R600 million train blunder

South Africa’s new fleet of “Mega” trains


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Prasa’s top engineer not registered: report