State spends millions in rent on vacant buildings

Posted On Tuesday, 13 August 2002 02:00 Published by
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Government has been forking out nearly R1m a month to rent empty buildings and will continue to pay hundreds of thousands of rands more until March next year
Government has been forking out nearly R1m a month to rent empty buildings and will continue to pay hundreds of thousands of rands more until March next year to meet its contractual obligations.

United Democratic Movement public accounts spokesman Gerhard Koornhof has referred this matter of 'fruitless and wasteful' expenditure to parliament's public accounts committee for it to be investigated further.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Koornhof, Public Works Minister Stella Sigcau said R223 125 was being paid for the rental of the Boulevard Hotel in central Pretoria leased for three years from January 2001 on behalf of the department of correctional services, for an academy.

After the lease agreement was signed, the department asked for its procurement to be put on hold but it was too late to cancel it and rent has to be paid.

Rentals totalling R763 352 a month are also being paid for the lease of 23 other buildings throughout the country.

Sigcau said Stats SA had completed Census 2001 earlier than anticipated and had vacated 19 buildings at the end of December 2001. Some of the leases were taken out until March 2003.

At the end of February 1999, the SA National Defence Force vacated two buildings, the leases for which expire at end-March 2003. Rentals of about R369 000 a month also continue to be paid in honour of the leases.

The department of transport vacated a building in 1998 but public works continued to pay rent of R55 073 a month until the lease expired at end June. It has taken steps to recover the money from the concerned department.

Business Day


Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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