Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala has defended the projected R700 000 to be spent on the fumigation of ministerial houses in Cape Town and Pretoria.
“The cost is considered sustainable and cost effective compared to the market standard rates,” Zikalala said.
He was responding to parliamentary questions from IFP MP Sanele Zondo, who asked about the total amount it would cost his department to fumigate one ministerial home over a period of three months, as part of the R93 million set aside for the maintenance of the minister’s residences for a period of four years.
He also asked about the projected total cost to fumigate all the ministerial houses and the sustainability of the cost over a 10‑year period amid other pressing issues that needed financial investment, such as load shedding and crime.
Zondo’s parliamentary questions came against the backdrop of an anomaly in the amounts charged for the maintenance and repairs, including fumigation, of the ministerial houses since 2018.
In his written reply, Zikalala said the total cost amount to fumigate one ministerial home in Cape Town was R1 600 over a term of six months and R12 800 over a period of four years.
“The projected cost to fumigate all the houses of ministers is R233 600 over a one year period,” he said with regard to the fumigation of houses in Cape Town.
Zikalala said the total cost to fumigate one ministerial home in Pretoria was R7 900 over a term of 12 months and R31 600 over a period of four years.
“The projected total cost to fumigate all ministerial houses is R474 000.00 over a one year period,” he said about the Pretoria houses.
In May, Zikalala’s response to a question from DA MP Leon Schreiber showed varying amounts paid for fumigation that ranged from R3450 up to R150 000.
In one house at Bryntirion, Pretoria, the department paid R79375 for “fumigation of cockroaches”, and R8775 for “fumigation of rats” at a Waterkloof house.
There was also R150 000 paid for fumigation in another house at Bryntirion and R64630 at Brooklyn.
In one Cape Town house, the upgrade of kitchen, repair floor covering and painting came at a cost of R1410 450.22.
The expenditure on maintenance of the ministerial houses had prompted Zikalala to demand an explanation from the department on some “questionable procurement”.
He announced that he would appoint a three-man panel to investigate procurement practices.
Zikalala said at the time that President Cyril Ramaphosa had directed ministers to not tolerate wasteful or excessive, unreasonable or potentially corrupt practices.
“Our procurement legislative regime is very clear and it excludes participation of elected representatives in matters of procurement,” he said.
“The panel will look into the pricing practices procurement related to maintenance and do comparisons. As a government we are not prepared to defend the indefensible but we will exercise our strong oversight to clean up this area which is unfairly discrediting public officials,” he said.