Govt office park gets nod

2014-03-12 00:00

FINANCE MEC Ina Cronjé has given the green light for the construction of a R600 million government office park, to be constructed in Pietermaritzburg.

Cronjé made the announcement in her Budget speech yesterday, saying that the long-awaited project would finally get off the ground, but not until after April next year, when certain conditions are met.

She said that R600 million had been allocated to the Public Works Department for the construction of the first phase of the office park, subject to all relevant feasibility studies being completed and the provincial executive council giving it the go-ahead.

The Witness reported in December that a R9 million feasibility study into the office park had recommended three funding options:

• Invite private developers to tender for the design, financing and construction of the office park, and lease the building to the provincial administration;

• The KZN government designs, builds and finances the office park using conventional procurement methods; and

• KZN enters into a public-private partnership with a private party to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the office park over a period of 20 years, after which the building is handed to the government.

Cronjé said she had also made an allocation of R5 million for another feasibility study to be undertaken for the construction of a legislature complex, which has been put on hold since the 2007/8 financial year.

“As the government office park feasibility study has been revived, the legislature requested funds to revive the feasibility study for the legislature as well,” she said.

Commenting on the feasibility study for a new legislature, Treasury head Simiso Magagula said the department would look into relocating the institution from its current location in the Pietermaritzburg city centre.

“We will look at the feasibility study to see where to relocate it and how much it will cost,” he said.

He added that the institution currently has limited space and the building’s status as a heritage site made it difficult for alterations or expansion to be effected.

The two new studies come after two others were undertaken by the Treasury for the provincial administration and a parliamentary precinct for the KZN legislature a few years ago.

Both studies were abandoned on the grounds of a lack of finance in the KZN government amid the economic recession.

The parliamentary precinct, which was to be constructed on land near the Townhill Hospital, was expected to have cost the legislature R800 million when completed through a public-private partnership.

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