Lease ownership revision on cards for KZN
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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal’s newly-elected Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Ntuthuko “Jomo” Sibiya has vowed to double his efforts in altering “skewed” economic patterns, which includes the provision of office accommodation for all government departments.
During his 2021/2022 budget vote speech on Thursday, Sibiya said the ownership of the 178 leases that the department had, were not reflective of the demographic of this country.
He said ownership of leases showed that 79 leases were owned by the Indian race totalling 44% and R344 million in lease portfolio per year.
“Thirty-seven leases were owned by the white race, totalling 20% and R113m in lease portfolio per year.
“Only 15 leases were owned by the black race, totalling 9% and R55m in the lease portfolio,” he said.
Sibiya detailed an eight-point turnaround strategy that would be undertaken by his department to achieve transformation objectives which included a property owner database that would be established with possibilities of some sort of exemption by the national Treasury.
He tabled a budget vote of R1.695 billion for consideration and approval, where he said the new infrastructure assets received R1.66bn, while the non-infrastructure got R2.202bn.
“The government and private sector had identified 276 strategic integrated projects with a total investment value above R2.7 trillion, 50 of which had been gazetted by the government (value R340bn).”
Sibiya also said that among things that were at the forefront to deal with was the late payment of service providers (payment to be within 30 days).
“We are also developing an invoice tracking system in order to deal with this matter once and for all. Any delay in the processing of invoices either deliberately or due to demands for bribes will result in criminal charges laid against any employee in the department.”
He called on members of the public and emerging entrepreneurs to report such employees “in order for the government to take immediate action”.
Sibiya said the results of an investigation conducted by the Special Investigating Unit into Covid-19 infrastructure-related procurement cleared Public Works of any wrongdoing.
Sibiya said the department will award 25 bursaries in the 2021/22 financial year, which included learners studying at TVET Colleges.
“This is not sufficient, but we believe that we are moving in the right direction. We have developed a new recruitment policy to ensure that our recruitment processes are in line with the government’s objectives which are aimed at responding to high youth unemployment,” Sibiya concluded.