State property and vehicles targeted to cut costs
THE GAUTENG premier’s official multimillion-rand residence in Bryanston, Sandton, is likely to go on sale, while politicians will be barred from driving cars worth more than R1 million.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura said this yesterday when reacting to the DA’s accusations that he had approved R2.1m to convert his official residence into a “conference centre”.
The DA’s Jack Bloom wanted to know when Makhura’s executive council took a decision to use the house for “official business government engagement”.
Bloom asked: “What feasibility study was done on the need and viability of converting and using his house for ‘official government business engagement’?
“If so, on what date were the findings made known, and if no feasibility study was done, on what basis was a decision to do building alterations taken within such a short time?”
Makhura dismissed claims in a Sunday paper that formed the basis of Bloom’s questions.
He confirmed that work was done on the house, but said it was routine maintenance.
His executive council had agreed to use the house for government business because he preferred to live in his private home.
The premier said he had made his intention clear during his first provincial executive council meeting on May 28.
“I also emphasised that the executive council will need to make time to have a detailed discussion on cost-cutting measures that will save the government money. The executive council subsequently held detailed discussions on costcontainment and cost-cutting measures across the entire provincial government and its agencies.
“Further measures are being undertaken to ensure that we cut government wastage and redirect resources to fund the priorities contained in our programme for radical transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation of Gauteng,” Makhura said.
He said the government was auditing all state property portfolios to assess whether it derived value from them.
Makhura was quick to point out that the official residence was also undergoing the audit.
He said government property, including his residence, could be put on sale, depending on the audit outcome.
“The ultimate fate of the official residence will be considered as part of this review of the property portfolio of the Gauteng provincial government. We will not be rushed to take an uninformed decision.”
Makhura said cost cutting would also affect the choice of vehicles for official use by government executives and senior officials.
GAUTENG Premier David Makhura has appointed unsuitable people in his executive council, while Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Molebatsi Bopape uses millions of taxpayers’ money to attend “international music festivals”.
These allegations against several of Makhura’s MECs are contained in the Gauteng DA’s annual scorecard.
During a media conference yesterday, DA caucus leader John Moodey singled out Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and Bopape, saying they were not deserving of holding such positions.
The DA scored the two MECs 2 out of 10 each.
Moodey explained Mahlangu’s low rating thus: “MEC Mahlangu’s first mistake was to vest all health capital projects in the Infrastructure Development Department – a department she rendered dysfunctional as its former MEC – and it has not improved since.
“The Health Department needs strong leadership and stability, but department head Hugh Gosnell left for reasons that are still unexplained. “Financial mismanagement is still poor, with late payments to suppliers and continuing large accruals,” Moodey pointed out.
Mahlangu also came under attack for the long list of litigation cases against her depart- ment amounting to millions of rand.
The DA also accused her of failing to answer legislature questions on time – according to Moodey, the “worst being 64 days late”.
It was not only Mahlangu who was accused of failing to answer questions – virtually all the ANC MECs, as well as Makhura, were painted with the same brush.
Makhura scored 7/10, but was also accused of replying to legislature questions late, his “worst being 51 days late”.
DA spokesman on sports and culture Paul Willemburg said Bopape had set aside R6.3m for international trips this year alone.