Calls for probe into new 'dubious' lease deal
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance will ask Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to probe another "potential lease scandal" involving the public works department and businessman Roux Shabangu.
This follows revelations by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to Parliament's police portfolio committee, DA spokesperson Dianne Kohler Barnard said on Wednesday.
Shabangu was named as the owner of a building secured by the department to be the ICD's new headquarters in Pretoria.
As with the SA Police Service lease deals scandal in which Shabangu was implicated, the rent for the ICD's premises "is reportedly grossly inflated", she said.
As a result, the ICD's total rental spending for the past financial year had increased by 400% from R4.2m to R15.6m.
According to reports, the cost of renting the building was not only outside the ICD's budget, but the premises were too large for the ICD's requirements, Kohler Barnard said.
"The ICD's total rental expenditure for the past financial year has increased by 400% as a result of the new Shabangu deal."
Shabangu's continued involvement
This had placed financial pressure on the ICD, hindering its ability to carry out its vital function of investigating complaints made against police members.
"Questions must be asked about Mr Shabangu's continued involvement in shady state deals, particularly given his reported connections to influential members of government, including President Jacob Zuma," she said.
In August, the DA laid criminal charges against Shabangu for his role in the recent police lease deal saga.
"In light of this latest dubious deal, I will not only be requesting an investigation by the public protector, but will also be writing to the Hawks to follow up on the progress of the investigation into Mr Shabangu," Kohler Barnard said.
Former public works minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde was sacked from Cabinet last week.
This came after Madonsela found that she had acted unlawfully in approving multimillion-rand lease agreements with Shabangu for police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban.
National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele was suspended at the same time.
Madonsela found his involvement in the procurement of the two leases unlawful and amounting to maladministration. The leases were worth R1.6bn.