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Public Works officials grilled over ministerial houses, luxury apartments

On Wednesday, the department briefed Scopa on the maintenance of ministerial houses and the department’s prestige portfolio, which includes luxury apartments.

FILE: Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament (MPs) have grilled Department of Public Works officials on ministerial houses and luxury apartments used by senior government officials.

On Wednesday, the department briefed the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on the maintenance of ministerial houses and the department’s prestige portfolio, which includes luxury apartments.

Members of the committee have taken issue with the exorbitant spending in the maintenance of the ministerial houses and other Public works properties.

This includes a block of flats in Cape Town's southern suburbs renovated for over R100 million.

MPs also questioned why directors general pay R75 a month to stay in luxury apartments when on official duty in Cape Town.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa says: “I just want to know how you arrive at R75 and whether politically, morally and economically or whatever attachment you want to make… is it right? I just think it’s a slap in the face really.”

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi says the department is in the process of reviewing its operations including the prestige portfolio.

“I’m not going to dispute what has been raised by honourable members, we’ve listened to Scopa, we’ve identified the operational problems and we’re taking action.”