Marburg cops to get offices back after leasing dispute resolved

2012-06-30 00:00

THE Public Works Department (PWD) has moved swiftly to resolve a leasing dispute that saw policemen in Marburg on the South Coast locked out of their offices.

In a statement released yesterday, the department said the matter had been sorted out.

“Following constructive discussions with the landlord, the offices which were closed have since been opened,” said spokesperson Bukiwe Mgobozi.

It emerged this week that officers attached to the vehicle recovery and safeguarding unit were working from their cars because owners Silver Moon Investments had closed the property they were renting.

The unit has about 20 officers serving the whole of Umzimkhulu, including Port Shepstone.

The department saw the move by the landlords as an attempt to force its hand because of protracted negotiations over a new lease, Mgobozi said.

The original agreement ended in December and since then the parties had been abiding by a month-to-month arrangement, set down for a year.

Mgobozi denied the PWD had withheld rent or failed to pay, saying it simply needed time to meet all the procurement regulations before signing.

“Admittedly short-term contracts are not a solution and instead have the tendency to work contrary to the interests of all parties involved. It was exactly for this reason that out of frustration … the landlord, despite being paid a monthly rental, went ahead to lock the client out just when the long-term contract was being agreed to with the client and the internal supply chain management processes were being observed.”

Mgobozi acknowledged there were vast problems with the department’s leases, some 30 00 of which are being audited by the Finance Ministry.

At the same time various agencies and oversight bodies like the Auditor-General and Special Investigating Unit have been probing questionaable deals to uncover corrupt officials and prosecute them. — WR.

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