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Marburg, KwaZulu Natal South Coast - The Department of Public Works lacked capacity and was facing serious irregularities with many of its leases.
But it was now finalising a new lease management policy and strategy in an attempt to solve the problem.
Thami Mchunu, department spokesman, made the frank admission to the Daily News after it emerged that officers of the Marburg SAPS vehicle recovery unit had had to work out of their vehicles for a month after the department had failed to renew the lease for the unit’s building.
“The minister has publicly acknowledged that there may be serious irregularities with many of the leases entered into by officials of the department,” he said.
Mchunu said this had been confirmed by the public protector, the auditor-general and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
On Thursday the KZN South Coast building was unlocked and the police were able to enter and use it.
This was according to a source close to the owner of the building who said the owner received a letter from the department demanding that the building be unlocked or it would take him to the high court.
The source said the owner of the building had no choice but to evict the police because the department still owed him millions in outstanding rent for the building. He said the lease agreement stated that it was meant to be renewed in June last year and a clause in the lease read that if it was not renewed by December 2011, it was taken as being cancelled.
“Last month, communication was made to the department asking for clarity on the lease and they were given 10 days to reply. There was no reply and that is when the police were evicted,” he said.
Mchunu confirmed that the lease expired at the end of December 2011, but said the department had been working on a long-term contract with the landlord. - Daily News