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
"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
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.