Lack of maintenance brings ceiling at Home Affairs office – Adrian Roos

DA MP says incident resulted in injury and shut down SmartID section until further notice.

Lack of maintenance brings the roof down at Home Affairs

17 February 2023

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Adrian Roos MP

The Democratic Alliance (DA) condemns the collapse of the ceiling of the Byron Place Home Affairs office in Pretoria which has resulted in injury and shut down the SmartID section until further notice.

From a DA oversight visit this morning (see here) to assess the damage, it is clear that maintenance issues are reported time and again, including issues with the sewerage that cause overflows, rat infestations and poor ventilation. It is a completely unacceptable environment for staff and citizens.

The DA calls on Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi and Minister of Public Works, Patricia De Lille, to urgently resolve this issue and ensure that an action plan is put in place for preventative maintenance at all Home Affairs offices.

In a meeting with the Portfolio Committee this week, the Department of Public Works (DPWI) revealed consistent underspending on maintenance, repairs and refurbishment of state-owned properties. The appalling state of the Byron Place Home Affairs offices is a reflection of the dire consequences this underspending has had.

A further contributing factor to the state of dilapidation of state-owned buildings stems from the lack of clarity, and consequent paralysis it results in, regarding the responsibility for maintenance, refurbishment and repairs. The DPWI and its client departments need to clearly demarcate roles and responsibilities in this regard.

DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Samantha Graham-Mare has consistently recommended in the DPWI committee that every single lease contract entered into between the Department and it's lessees must have a maintenance plan with enforceable provisions. While this has been implemented recently, there remain far too many lease agreements without such a plan in place.

We will be requesting further details from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure in respect of the underspending for the first three quarters and monitor the spending for the balance of the financial year.

The government has a duty of care to its citizens and staff and the DA will continue to fight for the human dignity of the citizens of South Africa.

Issued by Adrian Roos, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, 17 February 2023