May­oral man­sion worth less due to shoddy work­man­ship

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - RAPULA MOATSHE

THE R12 mil­lion used by the for­mer ANC ad­min­is­tra­tion in Tsh­wane for ren­o­va­tions that went awry at the may­oral man­sion will not be re­cov­ered.

This was ev­i­denced by the prop­erty eval­u­a­tor, who put a price tag of the house, lo­cated at Muck­leneuk, at R5m.

Ex­ec­u­tive mayor Solly Msi­manga said given the lat­est val­u­a­tion of the house, it would be an up­hill bat­tle to re­gain the mil­lions squan­dered in its con­tro­ver­sial ren­o­va­tions.

The ren­o­va­tion costs were ini­tially es­ti­mated at R1.2m, but rose to R12m with­out any proper ex­pla­na­tion.

The project had been com­mis­sioned by for­mer mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramok­gopa. It was part of the R132m project, which in­cluded the city hall.

When the DA-led ad­min­is­tra­tion came into power last year, it un­cov­ered a trail of cor­rup­tion and poor work­man­ship done on the house.

The eval­u­a­tion fol­lowed a pro­nounce­ment by Msi­manga dur­ing the 2017 State of the Cap­i­tal Ad­dress that the prop­erty would be put on sale and money made out of it used for ser­vice de­liv­ery.

Msi­manga told The Star’s sis­ter pa­per, the Pre­to­ria News, that the house would soon go un­der the ham­mer and the city hoped to make more than R5m from the high­est bid­der.

He con­ceded, how­ever, that the city would not be able to get back mil­lions of rand spent on it.

Last year, Msi­manga found that the ren­o­va­tions left it in a bad con­di­tion due to poor work­man­ship.

Cup­boards, closet doors and garage doors were fall­ing apart. Rain­wa­ter seeped in be­cause of a badly tiled roof.

“There are leak­ages in the plumb­ing.

“If you open cer­tain taps, you have wa­ter flow­ing on to the floor,” Msi­manga said.

Part of the ren­o­va­tions was to in­stall a video con­fer­enc­ing room and make the house suit­able for the mayor to host diplo­mats.

The prop­erty has dou­ble garages, the mayor’s of­fice space, bed­rooms and a big swim­ming pool.

Its main gate is al­ways locked and guarded 24 hours a day by metro po­lice of­fi­cers.

Msi­manga said the money raised from the sale of the prop­erty would be in­jected into hous­ing projects to ben­e­fit the poor.

Re­flect­ing on a year since he as­sumed of­fice, Msi­manga said the hous­ing is­sue was highly pri­ori­tised by the DA-led ad­min­is­tra­tion, given the re­cent in­ci­dents of un­rest in the city by peo­ple de­mand­ing to be housed.

Msi­manga said: “The con­stant dis­tur­bance and ob­struc­tion to this agenda is in­deed

If you open cer­tain taps, you have wa­ter flow­ing on to the floor

the ANC which has, since be­ing de­feated in the elec­tions, at­tempted to make the de­liv­ery of the houses and in­fra­struc­ture more dif­fi­cult than it needs to be.”

The ANC pre­vi­ously de­nied that Ramok­gopa used the house as his res­i­dence.

How­ever, Sputla’s pre­de­ces­sor and aunt, Gwen Ramok­gopa – also a for­mer mayor – did use the house for res­i­den­tial pur­poses.

Msi­manga has since pressed crim­i­nal charges against those im­pli­cated by a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the project.

PIC­TURE: ANA AR­CHIVES

CHEAP: The Tsh­wane may­oral man­sion has been val­ued at just R5m.

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