Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) Judge Brian Spilg has awarded Mbita Consulting more than R22m for cleaning services it provided to more than two dozen Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) train stations from November 2012 to July 2017.

Prasa had refused to pay Mbita since the end of October 2015, without giving a reason, notes a report in The Star.

So dire was the situation for the enterprise because of Prasa’s non-payment that it had to retrench about 400 workers in its cleaning business, and another 30 had to be let go in transportation.

According to court papers, Prasa repeatedly failed to pay Mbita despite several court orders, as well as the SOE’s own legal opinion.

Prasa’s refusal to pay confused Spilg, who asserted: ‘That is crazy.’

Prasa owed Mbita more than R16.9m, and Spilg granted Mbita that amount, plus an additional 10% a year interest, dating back to November 2015.

Prasa spokesperson Nana Radebe claimed that Mbita had tried ‘unlawfully to extract money’ from the SOE for over 18 months and hinted there was corruption involved.

She said Prasa was preparing an urgent application to have this judgment rescinded.

Full report in The Star (subscription needed)