Johannesburg - Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has called for the review of government spending on ministerial houses after parliament grilled his team over half a million worth braai areas.
The department appeared before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Works where it was asked to account on the R500 000 spent at ministerial homes, on braai areas.
Nxesi said: “There was a question raised about the morality of spending a lot of these millions. Clearly the issue of the limits and whatever goes to the ministers needs a radical review in terms of the ministerial handbook‚ but unfortunately, that review cannot be done by the officials‚" said Nxesi.
The committee also heard the department had during the 2016/2017 financial year bought two ministerial houses in Graskop, outside Pretoria for R6.7 million and R4.5 million, and another for R9 million in Club Avenue from the public purse.
It had also spent R6.3 million for 21 Dennis Road in Sandton and R6.8 million to buy another ministerial house in Milnerton, Cape Town.
The public works department owns 148 residences; 67 in Cape Town, one in Durban and 80 in Pretoria.
The state buys ministerial houses, and the department is thereafter liable for their maintenance and the costs of taxes and levies.
The department, however, hit back and defended its spending of half a million on braai areas.
The department’s Director-General Sam Vukela said: “These are not braai area per se but a facility that has a braai in it. This means it is more of an entertainment area.
“On the houses, we are satisfied that what we are paying was within the market value. In some instances, we were also able to negotiate the amounts to a lower level,” said Vukela.