File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) expressed its grave disagreement with the R48 million budgeted to acquire 6 additional Ministerial Houses within the 2017/18 financial year. 

This comes after the Department of Public Works presented the budget to the Portfolio Committee on October 24. 

According to the “Land Affairs Board”, one house has already been approved at a cost of R6.75 million. 

"The R 48 million could be used for the creation of job opportunities for the 9.4 million unemployed South Africans through programs like the Expanded Public Works Program, which falls under the department anyway", said DA Shadow Minister of Public Works, Malcom Figg. 

The DA has inquired further on the ministerial homes budget but says that "On November 14 the Department came back to the committee. This was squeezed in between other agenda items and rushed through the meeting". 

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Although they pledge to follow up on the inquiry, the approved home is speculated to be procured in either Cape Town or Pretoria, according to the DA. 

This revealed budget comes at the backdrop of an already sluggish South African economy which is set to face a R9.7 million debt crisis this week. The country is anticipating two concurrent credit ratings from Global Ratings Agency’s S&P and Moody’s. 

In addition to this, according to an admission by the Department in a reply to a DA parliamentary question, R20.3 million will be spent on renovation costs for the upkeep of 11 ministerial residences in Pretoria and Johannesburg. 

"Within the current economic environment it is unacceptable to spent so much money on renovations to executive residences. Under Jacob Zuma the bloated cabinet has continued to divert money service delivery to executive comfort", said DA Shadow Minister of Public Works, Malcom Figg. 

"Government cannot honestly expect South Africans to tighten their belts when it is doing the exact opposite”, concluded Figg. 

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