Public Works admits it's a disaster
Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi will review at least 4000 of the leases his department administers for the state as part of a strategy to clean up a department that has been rocked by allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
"We have created a mess," Nxesi said at a meeting with department staff in Durban yesterday. "There are a lot of shenanigans. All big tenders have a problem.
"It's a fact that there are serious problems in the department . officials disregarding supply-chain management procedures and accepting big gifts, such as cars.
"Nobody wants to associate himself with this department.
"Our major clients, like the Department of Education and the police, are running away from us because they don't get the service they expect."
Public Works has come under fire for its handling of leases such as those for new police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban worth R1.6-billion.
Following Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report - in which she said the leases were unlawful and their signing amounted to maladministration - President Jacob Zuma suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele and dismissed Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.
"Every week there's a new scandal in relation to leases and construction.
"We have people looting and even saying 'It's our time to eat'. They act as if they own the department. They do shoddy work but know they will get tenders without following procedures.
"The department is in a shambles - so much so that some government buildings and property have been stolen.
"What kind of department is this where officials can even steal property?" Nxesi asked.
He said geography or sociology graduates were promoted to manage engineers "when they know nothing about engineering".
"We don't deploy the right skills in the correct areas.
"Senior officials promote friends and think they will lead with common sense."
Nxesi said five officials had been suspended and charged, and more arrests would follow.