Public Works audit uncovers redundant properties, stagnant ownership patterns

2013-06-12 00:00

THE Public Works Department in KZN is in the process of disposing of some of its redundant properties.

This comes after the department undertook an audit of all vacant properties owned by the provincial government.

Delivering his R1,2 billion budget, MEC Ravi Pillay said yesterday each head of department had been asked to confirm their needs for such properties.

“Strategic properties have been identified and will be made available for economic development once it is confirmed that there is no need of the properties in question,” Pillay said.

He said his department, as the custodian of state properties, managed 11 165 facilities and 13 291 land parcels.

Pillay said the department has progressed in populating and updating its immovable property register.

“A total of 2 093 immovable properties have been registered in 2012/13 from municipalities,” he said, adding that the department expected to disclose 11 411 properties to the value of R12,1 billion in March 2014.

Pillay said they had undertaken an audit of all rented buildings.

“The findings confirmed that there is negligible transformation in the patterns of ownership. This is aggravated by the lack of suitable land for development.”

Pillay added that the KwaZulu-Natal government was still exploring the possibility of establishing a provincial office precinct in Pietermaritzburg.

“The viability of this being realised is dependent on a number of variables including the current difficult economic climate. Clearly, however, the long term benefit of a government-owned precinct seems obvious,” he said.

Pillay told of the department’s frustration regarding the retention of professional personnel.

“We are unable to retain staff when competing with the private sector, especially for built environment technical professional staff.”

He, however, said the department has 33 interns in various professions.

There were 27 candidate construction project managers being mentored and 30 bursary holders doing their final studies.

“After graduation the students will serve the department in various fields within the built environment sector for a compulsory minimum period of two to three years as stipulated in the bursary contract,” Pillay said.

The breakdown of the department’s budget shows that R317 million will be spent on administration, R571,5 million on property management and R372,7 million on buildings and fixed structures.

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