8 November 2012

South Africa: Answers Needed On Mansions for Ministers

press release

Government's refusal to answer questions on the massive public expenditure on President Jacob Zuma's private home in Nkandla has raised a red flag with regard to all expenditure on luxury housing for South African ministers.

Information provided to the Select Committee on Public Service indicates that more than R1.4 billion has been allocated to upgrades and building projects in and around four housing developments for Ministers, the Deputy President and the President (Bryntirion, Fernwood, Malhamba Ndlopfu and Groote Schuur).

This level of expenditure on luxurious Mansions for Ministers is obscene when many South Africans continue to lack even the most basic services, such as running water, sanitation infrastructure and electricity.

The Minister of Public Works, Thulas Nxesi, must appear before the Portfolio Committee on Public Works to answer for the enormous expenditure on Ministerial Mansions.

The Committee must be briefed on the full portfolio of prestige properties owned, built and upgraded by the Department and which Ministers are currently occupying these properties.

The projects detailed by the Public Works Department in May, includes the following:

• A R192 million project for a "phase 3 refurbishment" of Mahlamba Ndlopfu, the President's official residence in Pretoria;

• R13.7 million for repairs and maintenance of Oliver Tambo House, the official residence of the Deputy President;

• R403.9 million for 17 residences in the Fernwood Estate, presumably part of a new development of "ministerial residences" in the Estate (amounting to an average of R23.7 million per house);

• An additional R753 million for various upgrades in Bryntirion, the location of the ministerial complex in Pretoria. This includes R105 million for the construction of a "New VIP residence" and R50.4 million for an "executive military health facility";

• R120 million for projects around Groote Schuur Estate.

We would like to give the Minister of Public Works the opportunity to clarify the strategic intent and current and planned spending on the prestige portfolio programme and will write to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works to request that the Minister is called to the committee for this purpose.

If the Minister is not willing or able to provide adequate answers on the millions poured into the Ministerial mansions, the DA will consider alternative options to call for a full review of the programme.

Anchen Dreyer, Shadow Minister of Public Works

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