Did the Acting DG of Public Works and Infrastructure mislead Parliament?

Issued by Sello Seitlholo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
09 Jul 2023 in News
  • Acting DG of Public Works and Infrastructure, Ms. Nyeledi Makhubele, informed the Portfolio Committee that a circular would be issued for leasing 300 DPWI properties.
  • No circular has been issued to date, and the Portfolio Committee has not received an update on the delay.
  • The DA has requested the DPWI Portfolio Committee Chairperson to summon the acting DG and the Property Management and Trading Entity (PMTE) to account.

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Sello Seitlholo MP

During a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, held on 7 June 2023, the acting Director General (DG) for the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), Ms. Nyeledi Makhubele, informed committee members that a circular will soon be issued inviting interested parties to lease 300 DPWI owned properties across the country.

This concession followed weeks of sustained DA pressure in which we exposed how the continued neglect and lack of maintenance of DPWI properties had created havens for criminal activity, creating safety risks to local communities. Acting DG Makhubele, committed to providing members of the portfolio committee with said circular including details on the 300 properties that will be put up for leasing.

However, to date, no circular has been issued and neither has the Portfolio Committee been presented with an update as to what is causing the delay. I have subsequently written to the DPWI Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Ms. Nolitha Ntobongwana, requesting her to summon the Acting DG and the Property Management and Trading Entity (PMTE) to come and account before the portfolio committee for what has essentially become a misleading commitment on the DPWI properties.

On oversight visits to some of these buildings, I have seen first-hand how the prolonged neglect and failure to manage of DPWI properties has made them staging centres for criminal activity and vagrant behaviour – forcing nearby communities to live in fear.

The acting DG and the PMTE, must provide material evidence to the committee on the following:

  • Which are the 300 properties earmarked for leasing under circular 135 and where are they siuated, i.e., addresses, erf number, clear evidence of the extent of each property so as to ensure that potential leases can make informed decisions, bulk services or not, rate costs (municipal/water board/Eskom account fully paid),
  • What processes are to be followed by potential leasees and whether this process complies with section 217 of the Constitution on procurement systems given that leasing is part of procurement which must be equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective,
  • Which forms are to be filled and where are they to be collected from, both online and physical,
  • What timeframes are relevant, and;
  • Which offices/branches would report on the state of the leases over their lifespan.

As the custodian of government properties, the DPWI has failed to adequately fulfil its mandate. Parliament has a responsibility to step in and ensure that the calamitous decline is stopped in its tracks and the relevant accounting officers are made to answer on the commitments made.