Gauteng’s dodgy R32m building

The Treasury in Gauteng has flagged a dodgy R32-million payment by the department of human settlements to refurbish a building government does not own and is still to rent.

In what sources view as possible daylight looting, the department required a further R105-million in pre-occupation installations, bringing the total to R137-million before rentals.

The R32-million splurge is considered “excessively high” by the Treasury, on a building it feels does not fully meet their requirements and is not fully compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) standards.

Documents show the money was blown on installations that are ordinarily the responsibility of the property owner.

Sources in the Gauteng government have questioned why the department, which is led by MEC Lebogang Maile, spent millions of rand sprucing up the old Johannesburg Stock Exchange building, which is privately owned.

The two-year tender lease was awarded to Royal Grefler Institute.

In a letter addressed to human settlements’ acting head,Daniel Molokomme, Treasury head Nomfundo Tshabalala asks Molokomme what the rationale was in allowing the department of infrastructure development – the custodian of the province’s property – to enter into a lease agreement that was not budgeted for.

Tshabalala also wants to know about “the signing of a lease for a building that does not meet the requirement of the department, the reasons why the tenant installation costs are excessively high and the reason why R105-million is required if the department already paid R32 million of the total installation costs of R113-million”.

Tshabalala seems to question the quantum requested: If the total installation costs were R113-million and R32-million had already been paid, why was the balance required R105-million and not R81-million?

The letter further states: “[The] above needs to be clarified in writing before the request could be considered. In addition to the clarification of the above, the department needs to meet the shortfall on funding through savings within the existing budget allocation of the

Tahir Sema, human settlements chief director of communications, said the department would respond to questions raised by the Treasury.

Spokesperson for the infrastructure department, Bongiwe Gambu, referred all questions to the human settlements department.

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