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‘Govt could recover close to R1bn from leases with private landlords’

Those rentals include so-called ghost leases where renting contracts continue after their terms have expired.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi (centre) at a press conference in Pretoria on 19 July 2018. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has revealed that the Public Works Department could recover close to a billion randsfrom leases it has with private landlords.

Those rentals include so-called ghost leases where renting contracts continue after their terms have expired.

The SIU says it has also found that a number of employees have been doing business with government which is a conflict of interest.

Department of Public Works acting director general Imtiaz Fazel says to date, R30 million has been recovered.

“We also have a number, as of today, of about R296 million where we are offsetting payments to landlords on a monthly basis because of the payments we made in the past.”

He says 250 cases of corruption have been investigated and 193 of them have led to dismissals, written or verbal warnings.

Minister Thulas Nxesi says various interventions have been successful.

“But it’s not going to happen overnight and not without a massive struggle against the state capture forces, which are still entrenched and desperately striving to keep open access to state coffers.”

He says some matters have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)