Department fighting to recoup R66m in rental overpayments to building owners

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Department fighting to recoup R66m in rental overpayments to building owners
Department fighting to recoup R66m in rental overpayments to building owners

Africa-PressSouth-Africa. Cape Town – The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is recovering millions of rand paid in overpayments to owners of buildings leased to the government.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille was responding to parliamentary questions from EFF MP Mathapelo Siwisa who had asked about the number of buildings her department was renting from private landlords to house government departments as well as the amount paid for each building.

Siwisa also wanted to know whether there had been cases in the past financial year of overpayments of rental to landlords.

In her written response, De Lille said the department rented 2 265 properties from private landlords to house government departments and/or institutions as at March last year.

“The total payments on those buildings for the financial year ended 31 March, 2020, amounted to R5 billion,” she said.

There had been some overpayments.

“The number of leases affected as a result of the overpayments were 305 with a total value of R66 million,” De Lille said.

“From the R66 million overpayment an amount of R55m has already been recovered and the balance of R11m is being recovered.“

De Lille said in a separate answer that the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) was investigating 21 criminal cases in her department.

Her department had not referred any cases directly to the ACTT, she said.

“The department refers cases directly to the law enforcement agencies such as the South African Police Service, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation and the Special Investigating Unit.

“Based on their own processes and procedures, these law enforcement agencies make a determination on the cases to be referred to the Anti-Corruption Task Team for further investigation.”

De Lille said a report by the ACTT to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in November last year showed that 21 cases had been reported relating to her department.

“These cases are at various stages of investigation,” she said.

“The department does not have the details regarding the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure cases before the Anti-Corruption Task Team and is therefore unable to confirm whether there are other investigations.”

De Lille also said the department has been working with law enforcement agencies which had established a task team to co-ordinate in sharing information and tracking disciplinary cases that have resulted in criminal charges against officials.

She said the department has provided a list of criminal referrals to the task team for monitoring and also provides an update on disciplinary cases.

“The task team sits once every quarter to discuss the progress on criminal referrals. The team has also been reviewing some of the cases that were closed by the National Prosecuting Authority without the department being informed of such a decision,” De Lille said.

Political Bureau

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