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Ministers owe hundreds of months of back rent for residences

Jan 02 2019 12:46
Jan Cronje, Fin24

Despite rent for ministerial residences only costing between between R988 and R1 200 per month, the department of public works says that R1.2m in rental payments is outstanding.

At current values, this would indicate that roughly 1 000 months of rent have not been paid by ministers and deputy ministers, although this figure would change depending on whether the department was charging interest on the outstanding debt or not.

“The challenge with collecting rental income for ministerial residences is a systemic one,” said Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi in reply to a Parliamentary question from the DA.

He said the issue was caused by departments not creating stop orders from ministers and deputy ministers’ monthly income.

“The building up of arrears is largely not through faults of or negligence by the ministers. It would therefore be unfair to name which ministers are in arrears,” he said.

Nxesi said that, once ministerial residences have been allocated, the department of public works submits the documents indicating the amounts payable monthly to the departments.

“Despite numerous reminders some departments fail to action the stop orders leading to escalating debt. In the past I have engaged with members of the executive on the debt owed to the Department of Public Works and this was done with relative success. However, the challenge persists.

"Ministers are always willing to cooperate in terms of paying their monthly rentals. The challenge that we must resolve is a systemic one to ensure that the monthly rentals are collected without fail on an on-going basis.”

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