Johannesburg - Top managers at the troubled Johannesburg Roads Agency including managing director Goodwill Mbatha have been suspended for flouting tender regulations, the city's mayor Herman Mashaba said on Tuesday.
The JRA's board on Monday adopted the findings of a series of forensic investigations which implicated senior management within the entity and initiated disciplinary processes.
The investigations were initiated after an expose by television channel M-Net's investigative programme Carte Blanche early last year in which undercover recordings showed how a top JRA official tried to negotiate kickbacks from engineering contractors.
The alleged fraud and corruption is believed to have led to the dilapidation of the city’s infrastructure, with 94 percent of bridges in a fair to extremely poor condition.
Mashaba said the city had appointed external independent forensic firm Nexus to handle the forensic investigation into JRA affairs and the probe was only finalised in February due to its voluminous nature.
He said it found that JRA managers including Mbatha, who was chief financial officer at the time, flouted provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act, most notably in the project to repair the M1 freeway's double-decker bridge which was awarded to civil engineering firm White Hazy Construction in 2015.
The investigation revealed the company's bid was fraudulent, with claims about personnel and relevant experience falsified.
A criminal case had been opened and a submission made to the National Treasury to blacklist White Hazy as a service provider to the government, Mashaba added.
The JRA has also adopted a resolution to terminate the contract with White Hazy after the company failed to complete the work on the M1 bridge.
"The stability of JRA is essential to the performance of the city in addressing the inherited backlogs in our road network with over 4,000 km of roads and over 700 bridges in poor condition," Mashaba said.
African News Agency/ANA