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State seeks to annul police office leases

Sep 20 2011 13:14 I-Net Bridge

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Johannesburg - The Department of Public Works has applied to court to have its contract with businessman Roux Shabangu for police office space in Pretoria and Durban declared null and void, Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde announced on Tuesday.

"Papers have already been filed in the Pretoria High Court and we are now waiting for a hearing date," the minister said in a statement.

"It is important to note that media comments suggesting that these leases have cost the South African tax payers dearly are incorrect," Mahlangu-Nkabinde added. "We have not paid Mr Shabangu one cent, no work was ever started on the Durban offices and nor have we authorised Mr Shabangu's company to complete any work on the Middestad Building."

The Minister said that criticism of the department for delays in cancelling the contract was unwarranted.

"These contracts were entered into before I became minister; part of the reason it has taken some time to get to the point of filing court papers is because of obstruction I received from within the department and because I received contradictory legal advice.

"It is untrue as has been alleged that I signed off on these contracts. I did not."

She said that some departmental officials were now under investigation and should wrong-doing be established the matter would be referred to the appropriate authorities for criminal investigations.

"We have acknowledged that the government of South Africa has been poorly served by certain officials within the Department. We have said that there is evidence of corruption and the flouting of proper procedures. The government of South Africa will not tolerate white collar crime and we will act forcefully against those who act illegally," she said.

The Minister also announced the appointment of Mandla Mabuza, as acting director general.

 
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