The Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane is seen at a panel discussion following the release of the Development Indicators 2012 Report on Friday, 23 August 2013 in Johannesburg. Chabane held a discussion with industry experts on various subjects covered in the report such as economic growth and transformation, employment, poverty and inequality, household and community assets, health, education, social cohesion, safety and security, international relations and good governance. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Johannesburg - Officials in a department within the Presidency are so confident they’ll all still be there after the election that they’re busy renting extra office space.

The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) is looking for large new offices near the Union Buildings in Pretoria on a five-year lease.

The department has denied that the timing has any connection to the election.

The DPME was set up by President Jacob Zuma as part of his expansion of government in 2009, and is headed by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.

The tender for the new space was issued on Friday with a closing date of February 21, and the department wants to move in by July 1, but will push that to December 1 “at the latest”. The tender documents call for offices close to the Union Buildings.

“The department requires approximately 3 200m2 internal usable area and 100 covered parking bays,” said the tender.

“The department must occupy the entire building and cannot share with other tenants (except for other government departments or entities).”

The tender deadlines indicate that a lease will probably have to be signed before the election, under the current administration, which the incoming administration will then inherit. Moving into the new space by July means having the paperwork done well beforehand as the space is likely to need work to tailor it to the department’s specifications.

“The department may appoint its own service provider(s) to design and manage fit-out of the premises in accordance with DPME requirements,” said the tender, adding that the new landlord would have to work with the DPME team to ensure compliance with the lease and the law.

The DPME did not answer questions on whether the lease was likely to be signed before the election and why it wasn’t being left to the next administration, but did dismiss any election link.

“The time frames for awarding this bid and for concluding a lease agreement are subject to the normal supply chain procedures prescribed by legislation and National Treasury and is not linked to the electoral cycle,” said DPME spokeswoman Bonnie Ramaila.

“The DPME and the Presidency are separate accounting entities in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and the Presidency is therefore not involved in this process.”

Ramaila said the department occupied one floor of the East Wing in the Union Buildings.

“The DPME currently has 231 approved posts which will increase to approximately 245 by 2015,” said Ramaila.

“The Department of Public Works evaluated the available space at the Union Buildings in 2012 and concluded that the current space allocated to DPME at the Union Buildings cannot accommodate more than 145 employees.

“A decision was therefore taken to source additional office space for DPME and the Department of Public Works was requested in November 2012 to proceed with the procurement process.”

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The Star