Melissa Whitehead, a transport commissioner, has been enjoying the benefits of her salary even though she had been suspended in January already.
The transport and urban development commissioner, Melissa Whitehead, has been receiving her salary amounting to R250000 a month thanks to taxpayers, and this doesn’t include the other benefits she enjoys.
Her suspension is waiting on an independent investigation of her conduct. Whitehead had been suspended after allegations of improper conduct, mostly covered by law firm Bowmans’ investigative report.
Luthando Tyhalibongo confirmed that the commissioner had been suspended and is still receiving her salary despite sitting at home.
“Disciplinary proceedings have been instituted. However, it must be noted that this is an independent process and must be allowed to run its course. The City cannot commit to timelines as the process is independent,” he said.
Gershwin Fortuin is the acting commissioner while Whitehead is suspended.
The report by Bowmans detailed suspected corruption with regards to a tender for electric buses by BYD, a Chinese manufacturer.
The report says that Whitehead and other officials had changed the itinerary on an overseas trip to include a stay in a hotel paid for by BYD executives. Brett Herron, one of the officials on the trip had told the investigators that they had also received meals from the BYD executives. It is also alleged that there may have been payments made by BYD for the trip.
BYD had been irregularly appointed in the R286 million tender, allegedly thanks to Whitehead, who had pushed for them to be appointed.
A manufacturing plant would have been opened in Atlantis but the process had been halted before that point.
A pilot project worth R128 million saw the assembly of 11 buses that remain parked and unused in a Blackheath bus yard.
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