The Public Works department spent nearly R65 million renovating the homes of ministers and deputy ministers in the 2011-2012

financial year, the Sunday Times reported.

The newspaper said Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi had admitted this in a parliamentary response to an MP's question on December 14.

The renovation bills include: R15 million spent on a Cape Town house allocated to Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti, an overhaul to a house costing R10.67 million which was earmarked for use by deputy Transport Minister Lydia Chikunga, and less than R5 million on upgrades to a home allocated to Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Mtobeli Mxotwa, a spokesman for Nkwinti, told the Sunday Times:

“Minister Nkwinti does not have power over state assets or he homes. He just takes whatever the Department of Public Works allocates.”

Chikunga said it was “unfortunate and unfair” to be linked to the exorbitant spending.

“I have never requested renovations of R10-million.”

Joemat-Pettersson's spokesman, Palesa Mokomele, referred queries to the public works department. - Sapa