State property splurge: Millions to spruce up ministers’ houses
President Cyril Ramaphosa's administration will spend nearly R750m to spruce up houses occupied by ministers, and other government-owned buildings.
The upgrades, renovations and maintenance - which one analyst described as "frills" - have been criticised as excessive at a time when South Africans are battling price increases across the board.
The splurge - which includes R5m on carpets for the Union Buildings in Pretoria, R1m for bathroom and kitchen upgrades to a ministerial house, R29m on a guardhouse and R29m on gates and a doghouse - comes as tax-collection revenue dwindles and credit ratings agencies scrutinise public finances.
Public works minister Thulas Nxesi, in a written reply to parliament on Friday, revealed that his department will spend more than R730m from state coffers in the 2019/2020 financial year to spruce up the Union Buildings, houses for MPs and ministers, and their offices within the parliamentary precinct that fall within the government's "prestige property portfolio".
This amount - which is likely to rise significantly due to rising costs - flies in the face of calls by parliament's committee on public accounts for restrained use of public funds on the prestige property portfolio after it emerged last year braai facilities at some ministerial homes cost R500,000 to install.
Nxesi revealed that:..