The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) says it has initiated a process to establish a formal inquiry into allegations that one of its top engineers is not qualified or registered with the statutory engineering body.

The engineer in question‚ Dr Daniel Mtimkulu‚ executive manager for engineering services in the Prasa rail operations division‚ was introduced as the designer of the Afro 4 000 locomotives ordered from Spanish firm Vossloh that have been reported as unsuitable for South African infrastructure at a press conference defending the purchase last week.

The issue is the height of the locomotives — reports stated that they were 4.264m high whereas the national limit was 3.965m.

The Afrikaans news network Netwerk24 reported on Wednesday that Mtimkulu‚ had his application for registration for The Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) rejected in 2006.

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

Mtimkulu’s application to ECSA was rejected in 2006 as he only had a BTech qualification and a national diploma.

He needed a BSC degree in engineering and more than three years’ experience to apply to register as a professional engineer.

Mtimkulu claimed he had studied engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand before going on to study in Germany to get his doctorate‚ but Wits couldn’t find any record of him having been a student.

Prasa spokesman Moffet Mofokeng said at the weekend Mtimkulu had been “formally notified on the on the establishment of the inquiry”.

However ‚ he reiterated that the matter had no bearing on the “locomotives compliance issue as the project involved many engineers from PRASA and Vossloh (Spain)”.

RDM News Wire