R1.4bn upgrades to ministers’ homes – report

2012-11-09 09:24
The public works department is currently upgrading the official residences of the president, deputy president and Cabinet ministers in Cape Town and Pretoria at a total cost of approximately R1.4 billion.

This comes amid the growing scandal over the upgrade to President Jacob Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, at an estimated cost of R248 million.

Die Burger reported today that according to submissions by the public works department:
» R404 million is being spent on 17 ministerial residences on the Fernwood estate at an average cost of R23.7 million each;
» A R192 million project is under way at Mahlamba Ndlopfu, the president’s official residence in Pretoria;
» R13.7 million has been allocated for maintenance of and repairs to Oliver Tambo House, the official residence of the deputy president; and
» A R105 million project is under way to build a new luxury VIP residence in Pretoria.

These estates form part of the department’s prestige portfolio. Building work has already started at the four state properties occupied by the president, deputy president, ministers and their deputies.

DA MP Anchen Dreyer told Die Burger that the amount being spent on these upgrades shows how far removed the government is from the average South African.

“One understands that there have to be official residences, but R14 million for upgrading one home? One can buy palaces for that kind of money.”

Dreyer has approached the chair of the public works parliamentary portfolio committee to request that the minister explain the upgrades.

Public works officials were not available for comment.