More than 1 300 Public Works properties illegally occupied – De Lille

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More than 1 300 Public Works properties illegally occupied – De Lille
More than 1 300 Public Works properties illegally occupied – De Lille

Africa-Press – South-Africa. PUBLIC Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille says her department has had to foot the bill for rates and services belonging to about 1 300 properties that have been illegally occupied.

De Lille was responding to parliamentary questions from DA MP Samantha Graham who asked about properties under the custodianship of her department.

Graham also wanted to establish the impact the illegal occupation has had on her department’s ability to use the properties.

De Lille said Public Works was unable to optimally use about 1 300 properties.

“The impact of such illegal occupations is that the department continues to pay rates and taxes on these properties and is unable to generate revenue,” she said.

“However, the department, through real estate management services (REMS), continues to conduct site inspections and verification of properties that are reported as illegally occupied.”

De Lille also highlighted that REMS was sourcing an independent service provider to assess and bring eviction orders where necessary.

“The appointment is scheduled to be finalised in January 2022,” she said, adding there were about 42 unoccupied houses in Kwazulu-Natal.

“The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), in consultation with the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET), had identified 21 properties in Kwazulu-Natal, for student accommodation. These properties (houses) are situated in Empangeni and currently in the process of being disposed of by the University of Zululand,” she said.

Fielding more questions from other MPs, the minister said there was a joint task team formed between her department and higher education which would conduct further site visits to identify other more affected properties.

De Lille said the joint task team was also identifying properties that could be required for teaching and learning activities as part of the Department of Higher Education and Training requirements.

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