Mmemezi in R7m housing funds uproar

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The Gauteng Housing MEC spent more than R7.8 million specifically allocated for housing to install CCTV cameras in his office. Photo: Chris Collingridge

Gauteng Housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi

spent more than R7.8 million specifically allocated for housing to install CCTV cameras in his office.

This happened while the province’s poor residents wait for RDP houses.

The money was a conditional housing grant from the national government known as OPS/CAP. This money was instead used to install CCTV cameras in Mmemezi’s headquarters in Sauer Street.

If these funds had been used properly, at least 136 families would have each been provided with fully serviced RDP houses. The same amount could also have assisted to eradicate one of the flourishing informal settlements in Joburg and surrounding areas.

A fully serviced RDP house costs the Gauteng government R58 000.

Mmemezi and his officials opted for CCTVs, despite being in possession of a National Housing Code that governs the use of OPS/CAP programme funds. The code requires the funds to be used strictly for housing-related projects and nothing else.

The code specifically states that Gauteng housing head of department (HOD) Mongezi Mnyani, in consultation with Mmemezi, is obliged to ensure the funds were used for the housing needs of the province.

In terms of the code, “funding may not be utilised to enhance the provincial and/or municipal establishment”.

Last month, Mmemezi told the legislature during his budget speech that his department would be able to build only 29 884 houses this year.

”This is what we can be able to deliver, given the resources that have been allocated.”

Mmemezi said he and municipalities planned to build 19 352 rental accommodation by 2014.

He also said the eradication of informal settlements had been a major challenge.

Mmemezi failed to disclose how many people were on the waiting list for RDP houses in Gauteng.

The department paid R11m to Tshwane Firearms Training CC to install the cameras.

The additional amount came from its depleted security budget controlled by security head Azwindini Maphangwa.

Maphangwa facilitated the tender to Tshwane Firearms Training – which is 100 percent owned by Vuledzani Mbedzi. The last amount paid to Mbedzi was R864 151.91 on May 28.

Mbedzi received the R11 088 845.80 in instalments from June last year until May.

The contract was never put out on tender.

Mbedzi told The Star he had been approached to submit a requisition for the installation of CCTV cameras. He was invited to make a presentation to Local Government and Housing officials before his appointment was confirmed.

“I was given the job before Treasury came with the idea the government must invite more that three tenders before awarding the project to the winning bidder. I made a presentation to them. I did not have any connection to anyone in the department.

“I met the head of security, Mr Maphangwa, for the first time when I made my presentation - I swear to God. I will never swear in the name of God for nothing,” said Mbedzi.

Mmemezi’s spokesman, Motsamai Motlhaolwa, laid the blame on Mnyani’s door.

“The HOD is responsible for running the department. All issues of payment, procurement and management are outside of the MEC’s work and are handled by the department’s officials.”

He also said internal control processes had been followed in awarding the tender.

Asked why housing money was used, Motlhaolwa said: “OPS/CAP is a percentage of the conditional grant allocation (capital budget), which can be used for operational expenses related to the creation of human settlements.”

Motlhaolwa declined to comment on whether or not Mmemezi approved the payment as required by the National Housing Code.

“Stop putting MEC where he has no role,” he said. - The Star


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