PARTY

R12,2m spent on Gauteng Premier's house since 2005 - Jack Bloom

DA caucus leader says much of this expenditure appears to be wasteful

R12.2 MILLION SPENT ON GAUTENG PREMIER'S HOUSE

R12.2 million has been spent on the Gauteng Premier's official residence since it was bought in 2005. This is revealed in written replies to my questions by Gauteng Infrastructure MEC Bheki Nkosi. This house in the northern Johannesburg suburb of Bryanston has been refurbished three times in six years.

Most of this seems utterly wasteful and very poor value for money. R8.4 million was spent under former premier Mbhazima Shilowa for renovations and alterations of the main house, conference facilities and the parking area.

Although he never lived there, R1 745 000 was spent during Paul Mashatile's short premiership supposedly to repair structural damage, although the department says that it does not have a copy of the consulting engineers' report which is rather fishy.

According to Nkosi, this included repainting, replacement of stained carpets, various repairs, water proofing on roofs, and renovation of the conference centre. I think that we were ripped off with this contract, especially since R465 000 was paid in "professional fees" to Motheo Tau Pride which simply outsourced the repair work.

This company has benefited immensely from public works projects under Mr Sibusiso Buthelezi, controversial former head of the Gauteng public works department and close Mashatile friend.

Last year, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane spent R2 072 000 on yet more refurbishment, including the main bedroom and kitchen, yet more repainting, and new furniture and curtains.

It's all quite obscene when ordinary people struggle in difficult economic circumstances.

I will request an oversight visit by the Gauteng Legislature so that we can assess this matter first hand.

I will also refer the expenditure on the house during Mashatile's term to the Public Protector for investigation as it did not go out to tender and we appear to have paid far too much for what was done.

Statement by Jack Bloom MPL, DA Caucus Leader, Gauteng Legislature, March 16 2011

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