Gauteng spends R35 million per month on office rentals while government-owned buildings are standing empty

It is very concerning that the Gauteng Provincial Government spends R35 million per month to rent offices for its officials despite owning many buildings across the province.

This is the result of the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development’s inability to implement the planned Kopanong Precinct project in downtown Johannesburg. This project was meant to provide office space for officials of the administration. This information was revealed in a reply to questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

See the reply here

The Kopanong Precinct project has been on the books since 2003, but because of a lack of skills and expertise, poor planning, political gymnastics and false starts, the project is still in the planning phase.

Many of the buildings identified for this project are owned by the government, have deteriorated in the interim and have contributed to the crime and grime in downtown Johannesburg.

One such building was the Bank of Lisbon building, which had to be demolished because of government negligence and incompetence. Many other buildings owned by the government are not compliant with health and safety regulations, which is yet another obligation of the government in which it has failed.

Both Premier David Makhura and her MEC for Infrastructure Development, Tasneem Motara must accept culpability for the lack of resources, expertise, systems, and processes to manage the substantial property portfolio of the Gauteng government.

The DA will be conducting oversight inspections of these buildings, and we will also be engaging directly with the MEC for Infrastructure Development on our findings.

In terms of the social contract, the government owes its citizens an obligation of care in ensuring the best value for every Rand spent. In this case, government politicians treat the public purse as their personal piggy bank and do not deliver the required service or skills.