R24m spent on premier’s home
March 17 2011
The Gauteng government has spent about R24-million on the premier’s official residence in just seven years.
The house, in Bryanston, was bought in March 2004 for R11.5m.
But the province has spent R12.2m – more than the original purchase price – in renovations, refurbishments and repairs even though the house was only a few years old when Gauteng bought it.
The Sandton property is managed by the provincial Department of Infrastructure Development.
The original house, in Eccleston Crescent, was demolished by previous owners and replaced with a new house, based on plans drawn up in 1999.
These show a 1 150m2 double-storey building, complete with a rimflow pool built over a playroom, several reception rooms, four bedrooms upstairs and a guest suite downstairs.
The property was bought for Gauteng while Mbhazima Shilowa was premier. Premier Nomvula Mokonyane uses it now.
The amount spent since the purchase was revealed when DA MPL Jack Bloom asked questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
“It’s all quite obscene when ordinary people struggle in difficult economic circumstances,” said Bloom.
Infrastructure Development MEC Bheki Nkosi told the legislature that when the house was initially bought, renovations and alterations were done to the main house, the conference facilities and parking area.
These had cost R8.4m.
Then, in December 2008, structural damage in the form of cracks in the house were found.
“The cracks led to water damage (carpets, window frames, paint flaking etc) in the house, which needed to be repaired,” said Nkosi.
These repairs, based on a report by consulting engineers, cost R1.7m.
“The department is not in possession of the report,” Nkosi said.
He said Motheo Tau Pride was appointed as managing agent for the structural repairs contract. It, in turn, “outsourced” the repairs to Rekgonne Business Enterprise. Motheo was paid R464 615 of the R1.7m.
Nkosi said this work involved repainting the outside of the house and rooms where renovations were done, replacing stained carpets, removing tiles and re-screeding the floors, waterproofing the roof, repairing and painting ceilings, renovating the wooden front door, and renovating the conference centre.
The work did not go to a Gauteng business. The Star found that Rekgonne is based in Mafikeng, North West.
According to the Construction Industry Development Board, Rekgonne has a grade 1 listing that allows it to handle government contracts up to R200 000. For a contract worth more than R1m, Rekgonne needed a grade 3 listing.
The department spent another R2m refurbishing the house for Mokonyane.
Last year, then MEC Faith Mazibuko told the legislature in response to a question by Bloom that this work ran from September 2009 to January 2010. It included refurbishing the main bedroom and en-suite bathroom, dressing room, kitchen, laundry, painting, and curtains, bedding and furniture.