Why the ministerial housing splurge? - John Steenhuisen

DA MP queries why 34 residences had to be bought at cost of R183m

Zuma administration splurges close to R200 million on mansions for new Ministers

In a reply to a parliamentary question posed by my colleague Erik Marais MP, the Public Works Minister has revealed that 34 new houses have been bought for use as "official residences" by the 6 new Ministries created by President Zuma in 2009. The total cost is R183 million - enough to deliver around 2,000 RDP houses.

Official residences, when they are deemed necessary, should be reasonably costed and should serve some purpose. It is unclear why more houses were bought than is required by the six ministries.

The DA demands to know:

  • Why 6 ministries require 34 new houses
  • Why it was deemed necessary to spend an average of R5.4 million per house
  • Whether Ministers have been paying market-related rentals for their secondary official residences in Cape Town as prescribed by the Ministerial Handbook
  • Why Deputy Ministers should be entitled to their own residences in Pretoria and Cape Town
  • Why Ministers have not made use of the ministerial estate at Groote Schuur in Cape Town instead of buying new houses

I will be submitting follow-up parliamentary questions to the Minister of Public Works to get to the bottom of this. This wasteful expenditure cannot be right when millions of our people continue to live in poverty. The money spent on new ministerial mansions could be far better spent on the education of our children, the care of our sick and the delivery of housing to the poor.

Statement issued by John Steenhuisen MP, DA Shadow Minister of Public Works, August 22 2011

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