Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde is still studying the Public Protector’s report on the controversial police headquarters lease agreement and is expected to comment on it in the next month.
Addressing the media in Pretoria this morning, Mahlangu-Nkabinde said she would not respond to questions about the report as she still needed more time to study it, the state BuaNews agency reports. “I’m still studying the report and thereafter I will be able to respond,” she said. She said she would comment within the next 30 days.
The Public Protector’s report found Police Commissioner Bheki Cele had to answer charges of improper conduct and maladministration for his role in authorising a R500 million lease for a building in Pretoria. The report also found the Public Works Department’s decision to continue with the deal, despite legal opinion advising against it, to have amounted to maladministration.
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela rendered the lease invalid. Mahlangu-Nkabinde has been in possession of the report since it was made public by the Public Protector in February, BuaNews added. Meanwhile, Public Works is preparing for major renovations to the President’s official residence in Pretoria as the 70-year-old house is in need of repairs. The department will make use of in-house services.
The renovations are a three-phase project, which started in 2008 and comes with a budget of R177 million. “It is our mandate as the Department of Public Works to support the Presidency and the Executive. The department is guided by the ministerial handbook and the applicable prescripts of government procurement,” the minister said.