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I worked on SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) projects between 2001 and 2016 and saw how incompetent people were appointed because of cadre deployment. On many projects, we as resident engineers had to fix the mistakes made by consultants, although this was never acknowledged.
On one of my projects, the N2 between Umlazi and Umzinto, the laboratory manager could not manage the laboratory, while my assistant resident engineer was an alcoholic and was almost never on site. The engineers could not do the seal design, and when I did it they used my design and claimed the fees for their work.
Since I started with Sanral there were only two projects where the consulting engineers were able to do the work. On my last project in 2016, the Musina Ringroad project, millions were wasted because of mismanagement and corruption, and when I resisted my contract was unlawfully ended.
The reality is you are not welcome at Sanral if you are not corrupt and controlled by them to be like them. Because of what happened to me at Musina I was blacklisted by Sanral and refused any further contracts by them.
The Engineering Council of SA is just as useless. I reported the case to it and in terms of the law and their code of conduct it was supposed to investigate, but nothing has been done other than claiming the annual membership fee.
I also reported the corruption to the Special Investigating Unit, only to receive a reference number. The same with the SA Human Rights Commission, and the presidential hotline means nothing.
In the meantime, experienced and competent engineers are unemployed.
Derek BothaVia email
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.