ICD hammered


The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) was in for a tough time in Parliament today as MPs grilled its leadership over why its headquarters rental bill in Pretoria spiked from R4.2 million to R15 million in only one year.

ICD officials, led by chief director Francois Beukman, said they did not know the details of the lease when they moved into the City Forum Building in Pretoria last year, as the Department of Public Works was responsible for signing off the lease agreement. The delegation also revealed that they do not know how much more the building could cost them in the future, the state BuaNews agency writes.

Facing pressure from frustrated MPs on Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police, the ICD revealed that the exorbitant rent would affect service delivery, including the establishment of satellite offices across the country. The ICD said they would request more money for rent from National Treasury, but furious MPs said they hoped they did not get the funding.

In 2009, businessman Roux Shabangu and Public Works property management director, Vusi Mashiane, are said to have signed a 10-year lease for this building. The lease reportedly did not specify who should move in and the ICD occupied it in 2010. According to the lease, government was liable to pay R8.8 million rent in the first year, which would escalate by 10 percent each year.

In a presentation, the ICD projected a shortfall in operating leases of over R10 million in the 2012/13 period, R12 million in 2013/14 and R13.8 million in 2014/15. Committee chairperson Cindy Chikunga adjourned the meeting due to perceived failure by the delegation to give clear explanations on the matter. Since Public Works was also involved, she said both parties would have to be invited to Parliament to give more explanations on the matter.

Critical of the ICD, the committee said that they should not have moved into a building without knowing its financial implications. “I’m very concerned about this. The Department of Public Works should have been here. Is the ICD just a spectator in this?” questioned Cope’s Mluleki George.