The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) is currently spending millions of rands to secure and safeguard 1836 vested properties and 482 deemed properties.
A typical example is the dilapidated buildings in Amandasig in Pretoria North that have been taken over by illegal invaders. This happens despite having security hired to safeguard the premises.
This has led to an unsafe environment for our residents and a spike in crime due to alleged drug dealing that is taking place on these premises.
The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) has indicated that for the past three years, the following amount of money has been spent on securing and safeguarding these properties:
• 2022 (for the past six months)- R15 498 638,04
• 2021- R25 693 361,76
• 2022- R23 507 535,00
In 2021, GDID indicated that the property in Amadasig was occupied by 17 Lesotho nationals, however, the DA has learnt that currently there are at least 300 Lesotho nationals living with South Africans in this building.
Given the huge amounts of money spent on securing these buildings from being vandalised and illegally occupied it would be expected that none of the vacant buildings is illegally invaded.
Furthermore, GDID indicated that a process was underway to vest this property which has been earmarked for nature conservation to the department. However, there has been no movement, and the building is still illegally occupied.
For the longest time, the DA has been warning the current government that the longer these buildings remain vacant they become vulnerable to illegal occupation and vandalism.
The DA demands that GDID should act swiftly and start the process of evicting the illegal invaders and ensure that those who are paid to safeguard these properties do their work. We cannot allow the department to spend millions on service providers who are unable to do their job properly.
The new MEC for Infrastructure Development, Lebogang Maile, must urgently do a forensic audit of all government-owned buildings that are vacant and the current state that they are in.
Furthermore, the GDID must put a plan in place to ensure that these properties are used for the benefit of our communities instead of taxpayers having to fork out more money on vacant buildings.
We also propose that where the vacant buildings are allocated to specific departments, they must look at ways of using these buildings for the benefit of our residents. In addition, these departments should also consider utilising these buildings instead of paying an exorbitant amount of money on rental fees.