POLITICS

News24.com | Govt departments, agencies owe Public Works billions in rent, says Patricia de Lille

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.

  • The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is owed R3.1 billion in rental from other government departments and agencies.
  • The outstanding balance owed by user departments for state-owned accommodation is R1.9 billion.
  • In January, the department revealed it spent R5 billion in the previous financial year on renting private properties for government departments and institutions.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille says several government departments and agencies owe her department R3.1 billion in outstanding rental fees.

In response to a written parliamentary question, De Lille said the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) charged rental for the use of state properties by user departments.

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She was responding to a question from IFP MP Mthokozisi Nkululeko Nxumalo.

“The outstanding balance owed by user departments for state-owned accommodation is R1 926 228 416 as at 31 January 2021. The DPWI also signs lease agreements with private landlords in instances where state properties are not available for use by the user department, after which the department recovers all costs related to these leases from the user departments.

“The outstanding balance for leases is R1 182 287 913 as at 31 January 2021,” De Lille said.

Rental debtors, which included persons and entities renting properties not being used by the government, was R101 046 999.

The prestige debtors’ rental bill stood at R7 849 565.

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“These are persons who include members of the executive, former members of the executive, Members of Parliament, directors-general, former directors-general, officials required to be accommodated in Cape Town and/or Pretoria, and other eminent persons required to be provided with accommodation. The above-mentioned amounts may exclude money not yet allocated or cash in transit,” De Lille said.

At the beginning of the sixth administration, De Lille requested the DPWI to implement a debt recovery process.

In January, News24 reported on the DPWI who had spent R5 billion on renting private properties for government departments and institutions.

Just over 300 landlords had been overpaid to the tune of R66 million, most of which the department had already recouped.

The expenditure covered the financial year ending March 2020.

There were 2 265 properties that the DPWI was renting from private landlords to house government departments and institutions.

Some of the biggest amounts spent on rental payments were made for buildings occupied by the SAPS.

One company, SKG/Africa Properties, received over R93 million in annual rent for leasing its buildings to police management.

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Massive annual rent payments were also made on behalf of departments occupying private buildings.

De Lille said the nature of the agreement was that these persons and entities were leasing properties from DPWI as a benefit provided in various statutes.

“In case of properties occupied by user departments, the agreements are governed by the devolution framework as approved by National Treasury,” she said.

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