Scrap public works

2014-07-20 15:02

Honestly, do we really need the department of public works? Has it brought us anything but embarrassment and scandal?

Example 1: Nkandla. The department, unable to contain spending, has ushered President Jacob Zuma into the most severe scandal of his administration.

At a cost of almost R250?million, we are no closer to the truth about the splurge than MaKhumalo is to being able to enjoy her tuck shop without the glare of the Public Protector and now the Special Investigating Unit.

If public works had done its work properly, there would be no need for all this because they would have applied the law and kept the renovations minimal.

This department’s spending on what it calls its “prestige portfolio” – the bling spending on the publicly funded homes of VIPs – is a shocker waiting to be investigated further.

Example 2: Leases. Need we say more. Former top cop turned Deputy Minister of Agriculture Bheki Cele lost his perch because of a leasing scandal for a police building.

Public works runs the state’s lease book and it is a complete feeding trough where, as Minister Thulas Nxesi revealed this week, we have been paying far in excess of market rates for buildings the state did not know about.

Yet some property consultants made a lot of money and, apparently, paid huge kickbacks to some department staffers.

It’s a rat’s hole at the department and a cursory glance at its spending on getting rid of malfeasant staff suggests the quantum is enough to build a small town or a reservoir for the good people of North West whose babies are dying from water infested with E.?coli.

Why does the state have to have a department to lease buildings?

Example 3: Public works also runs the huge property portfolio of government, but by all accounts, it does so very inefficiently, turning it into a cost centre rather than a revenue generator for the fiscus.

Why not parcel it out to the public in shares and run it professionally. In that way, entrepreneurs or the people can benefit from the property as surety for capital.

There is but one thing that works very well: the Expanded Public Works Programme.

It is an international centre of best practice for providing infrastructure and temporary employment for millions of people.

Let’s keep this part but scrap the rest.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.