Adv. Director General Sam Vukela reveals that the Department of Public Works spend R300 million on rent for buildings and parking spaces that do not exist it in the department’s 2017-18-year report.
This damning evidence on which he and Thulas Nxesi, minister, and Jeremy Cronin, deputy minister and other departmental heads of government, reported on Tuesday before the parliamentary portfolio committee on public works.
Nxesi told the portfolio committee that although unauthorized irregular and wasteful spending has been significantly reduced over the last five years, the target is to eradicate it.
“There are still serious concerns in certain areas.”
Thirteen cases were also referred to the asset seizure unit for the recovery of rent considered to be the proceeds of crime. This money amounts to about R130.5 million.
According to him, work will also be done to uphold the auditor-general’s recommendations to the department. “However, we still have a long way to go.”
Recently, the same department has spent about R103 million in two years to renovate an apartment complex with 29 apartments in Rosebank, Cape Town, which includes highly paid ministers, deputy ministers and directors general for R1 200, R988 and R75 per month respectively can rent.
MPs were also stunned earlier because the department paid about R43 million to one company in two years to only maintain about 67 ministerial homes in Cape Town.
MPs in the Standing Committee on Public Accounts were also furious when they heard that the department spent almost R500 000 to build braai areass at three ministerial offices and also spent millions of rands buying luxury homes for ministers. However, many of these houses are standing empty.
Vukela said in the latest annual report, that was laid on the table on Tuesday before the committee, indicates that the department renewed all its leases with the private sector in the relevant financial year in order to improve its business practices in this regard.
“By the end of March 2018, the Special Investigation Unit (SOE) investigated 1 020 of the 2 162 contracts, while investigations into the remaining 1 142 leases were in the final phases of completion.”
According to him, there where 29 cases where evidence of alleged fraud was found. These cases was referred to the national prosecuting authority and two landlords were charged.
Eight accounts of inflated rent were also signed by landlords.
The rented amounts includes the lease of vacant space and parking spaces that do not exist, as well as VAT payments to landlords who were not entitled to such payments. The losses amount to R296,9 million.
“The rented rent includes rental of space and parking spaces that do not exist, as well as VAT payments to landlords who were not entitled to such payments. The losses amount to R296,9 million. ”
According to Vukela, it is recommended that the money of the landlords concerned be recovered, for example, by settling it against future rent.
“Thirteen cases were also referred to the asset seizure unit for the recovery of rent considered to be the proceeds of crime. It amounts to about R130.5 million.
“The department is also in the process of correcting lease agreements where the SOE found less rental space and parking spaces than for which it was paid.”
According to him, the department now has a strategy to prevent fraud and corruption and to promote ethical behavior.
In addition, 74 disciplinary processes have been completed against relevant departmental officials. Penalties against them vary from layoffs and suspension without payment to oral and written alerts.
Read the original article in Afrikaans on Netwerk 24