Legislature’s smelly toilets aired as R8,9 mln overhaul queried

2013-05-20 00:00

THE R8,9 million in renovations done at the KZN Legislature speakers’ office sparked a storm at a meeting of a portfolio committee on Friday.

The amount is contained in a report tabled by the public works department to the portfolio committee.

Department head Roger Govender said that of the R8,9 million allocated, R7,1 million had already been spent on the speaker’s office.

But the amount spent on renovations seemed to not have matched the work done, according to some committee members.

Committee member Happy Blose complained about smelly toilets.

“There is a ladies’ room that is smelling like you don’t want to go there,” Blose said.

“There is one next to the gates; that one is blocked now and again,” she added, before asking why some of the funds could not be used to fix the toilets.

“It is not acceptable. There is a smell in the old legislature, the ‘skorokoro’ [dilapidated] house; it is not right for us,” she said.

“Which money was spent in the speaker’s cottage because that cottage is still like when Mr [Willies] Mchunu was speaker?

“Why do you say you spent the money on the cottage, because we never see that?” she asked.

Blose added that tiles were also still broken.

She asked why the department had not done a comprehensive renovation at the legislature, which she said should rather be turned into a museum.

“We must make it a museum or whatever. It is wasting a lot of money,” she said.

Responding to the question about stinking toilets, Govender said his department could not effect renovations without a mandate from a client department.

“If the legislature say they have R2 million for maintenance and want us to do one, two, three and four, they give us money; we act as an implementing agency,” he said.

“The whole budget process is flawed because we are custodians of all immovable properties, but we do not have the maintenance budget to maintain the properties.

“The maintenance strategy for the province needs to be addressed,” he said.

Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay told the committee there was a possibility of a new legislature and a new government precinct being built.

“The argument is logical. We pay so much rent to private people,” he said.

Pillay added that the construction of a new building to house the legislature and provincial government would come at a cost of billions. He said the concerns about maintenance of the legislature were noted.

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