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Mpumalanga - The Mpumalanga public works department insisted on Thursday that Pilgrim's Rest business owners were informed in time of the expiry of their leases.
“The department advertised the leasing of the buildings on a tender bulletin in October last year, the closing date was November 2011. The leases of all businesses which were on tender had expired,” said spokesman David Nkambule in a statement.
Consultative meetings were held in September last year and March 2012 before the tender process, said Nkambule.
“The Pilgrims' Rest Business Chamber represented by Marius Brummer was informed that the department will advertise the leasing of the buildings as mandated by the Public Finance Management Act,” he said.
He said a budget of more than R4 million had been set aside for the daily maintenance of the town.
The Times newspaper reported on Thursday that at least 17
tenants at the heritage site faced evacuation after being issued with eviction notices by the department last week.
The tenants have to vacate the properties by the end of this month.
Some of the tenants said there had been no response from the department regarding their own tender applications.
Business owners lease the properties from the department which owns and runs the historic mining town.
The Freedom Front Plus said it would ask Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate whether the correct procedures were followed in the awarding of tenders to new shop tenants.
“It appears that some tenants had been threatened by officials that they would be removed if they do not vacate the premises by the end of this month,” said FF Plus spokesman Anton Alberts. - Sapa