Government-owned flats and houses — complete with swimming pools — are being leased to the public for the first time.
The decision was taken after the Department of Public Works’ immovable assets register showed that the government owned R75billion worth of land and buildings in April.
The 240 properties in Levubu, in Limpopo, Warden and Hertzogville, in the Free State, Belfast and Graskop, in Mpumalanga, and in Johannesburg were previously occupied only by public servants. They will now be leased out to offset rates and services charges.
The Times reported previously that thousands of public servants were living in state-owned properties for as little as R900 or R1500 a month.
DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, who sits on the parliamentary portfolio committee on housing, slammed the move.
“It is not [the department’s mandate]. Their mandate is to maintain and source for government departments. For them to say we’re going to lease them out to individuals changes their mandate. They have just become government realtors. What next are we going to rent out, parliament?
“If you don’t need these properties, sell them. This is a recipe for corruption.”
Thami Mchunu, a Department of Public Works spokesman, said there was no rent-to-own option on the cards but if the department did decide to sell, the properties would be advertised.
He said leasing the properties, which range from one-bedroom flats to three bedroom houses, some with swimming pools and flatlets — would safeguard them against vandalism and illegal occupation.
“Interested individuals need to contact an office of the department to make an offer to lease the property.
The lease will be offered to the highest offer received, provided it is in line with the market rental stipulated in Treasury regulations, which require state properties to be leased out at a market-related tariff,” said Mchunu.
He said the properties ranged in area between 56m² and 266m², and were in “fair to good condition”.
source: The Times