Thulas Nxesi: The rot runs deep

2014-07-20 10:40

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An empty six-storey office block in Pretoria, a shopping centre in Heidelberg that contains no government agencies, and a strip mall in Lenasia that houses a supermarket, a grocer, and a car sound business.

These are just three of the 120 buildings the public works department paid rent for, which are either empty or occupied by private companies.

After his budget vote this week, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi ordered a fresh forensic audit of how long the department has been ripped off to the tune of more than R60?million a year by the owners of empty buildings and even vacant plots that were supposed to house government officials.

Nxesi told City Press this week “the rot runs deep” after the audit of 2?162 privately owned buildings leased by various government departments found that, among others, R5?million a month was blown on 108 empty buildings and R1?million a month was spent on 12 offices occupied by private businesses – including a “lotion factory”.

This, according to Nxesi, was just the beginning.

Government still doesn’t know how much it has paid over the years as there were no lease agreements in many cases.

» Get City Press newspaper today for the full story.

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