Why are we spending R500‚000 on braai areas for ministers?

21 August 2018 - 18:47 By Nico Gous
Scopa chairman Themba Godi has raised concerns about the money spent toward the buying and maintenance of ministerial homes
Scopa chairman Themba Godi has raised concerns about the money spent toward the buying and maintenance of ministerial homes
Image: Robert Tshabalala

Why are we spending almost half a million rand on braai areas for ministers?

That is what Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) asked the Department of Public Works in a media statement on Tuesday. Scopa is concerned about the almost R500‚000 that was spent on “braai entertainment areas” in ministerial houses.

“Scopa is of the view that South Africans cannot be expected to pay that amount of money just for a braai area for a minister. The committee is concerned about what seems to be a priority for government. Is it really necessary to spend that kind of money just for a braai area for a cabinet minister?” Scopa chairperson Themba Godi questioned.

“The state is spending exorbitant amounts of taxpayers’ money on buying and maintaining these houses when some of them are not even being utilised by ministers or deputy ministers.”

According to Scopa‚ the department owns 148 houses and allocates “prestige" homes to ministers and their deputies.

“Scopa has requested the department to provide the committee with a report of how much each of these houses are costing the government in maintenance‚ rates and taxes for the past two financial years. The committee has also asked for a detailed report on which of these houses have been declared heritage sites and the cost of maintaining these houses.”

Godi said they were worried about the lack of a cap for buying ministerial houses.

“The committee has learned that the department spends as much as R9-million for a certain ministerial house while other ministers live in houses that cost about R4-million. What informs the purchasing for these houses? It is really concerning that the department has no manual for those kinds of purchases.” Scopa believes it is “inherent” in the department to attract “all sorts of characters who want to make a quick buck”.

Scopa wants the department to report back on Wednesday next week at 6pm.

The Sunday Times reported earlier this month that the Department of Public Works spent R30-million on five homes for ministers in Pretoria‚ Johannesburg and Cape Town without following open tender processes - fitting three of them with braai areas costing half a million rands.

This was contained in a report submitted by the department to Scopa following concerns that the state was suffering unnecessary losses because the department did not follow proper processes when making certain purchases.

The report‚ which was submitted to Scopa last month and is yet to be discussed by the public accounts watchdog‚ shows that R500‚000 was spent on the braai facilities at three ministerial homes in Cape Town.

X