R1.4bn upgrades to ministers' homes

2012-11-09 08:34
(Khaya Ngwenya, City Press)

(Khaya Ngwenya, City Press)

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Cape Town - The public works department is currently upgrading the official residences of the president, deputy president and Cabinet ministers in Cape Town and Pretoria at a total cost of approximately R1.4bn, Die Burger reported on Friday.

This comes amid the growing scandal over the upgrade to President Jacob Zuma's private residence in Nkandla, at an estimated cost of R248m.

According to submissions by the public works department:
 - R404m is being spent on 17 ministerial residences on the Fernwood estate at an average cost of R23.7m each
- A R192m project is under way at Mahlamba Ndlopfu, the president’s official residence in Pretoria
- R13.7m has been allocated for maintenance of and repairs to Oliver Tambo House, the official residence of the deputy president.
- A R105m project is under way to build a new luxury VIP residence in Pretoria

These estates form part of the department's prestige portfolio. Building work has already started at the four state properties occupied by the president, deputy president, ministers and their deputies.

DA MP Anchen Dreyer told Die Burger that the amount being spent on these upgrades shows how far removed the government is from the average South African.

"One understands that there have to be official residences, but R14m for upgrading one home? One can buy palaces for that kind of money."

Dreyer has approached the chair of the public works parliamentary portfolio committee to request that the minister explain the upgrades.

Public works officials were not available for comment on Thursday.

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Read more on:    public works  |  anchen dreyer  |  cape town  |  nkandla upgrade  |  government spending

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