President Jacob Zuma conveying a message during the 20th Celebration of Freedom Day held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. South Africa. 27/04/2014. Siyabulela Duda


Johannesburg - What President Jacob Zuma failed to mention when he recently announced more Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probes, is that his own state office is one of the targets.

It has emerged that the SIU will look into the spending on 17 projects run by the national Department of Public Works, and all are in Cape Town and are believed to be part of its Prestige programme, in charge of houses for ministers in Cape Town and Pretoria, the parliamentary buildings and the Union Buildings.

Details of Prestige spending are usually kept hidden, but the SIU has been tasked – by presidential signature – to look into “any unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure” on the 17 projects since November 2007. This will include work carried out after Zuma took office in 2009.

The projects include:

* Tuynhuys, the president’s official office in Cape Town.

* Groote Schuur Estate where there are several ministers’ homes.

* Acacia Park, the parliamentary village where MPs are housed.

* 120 Plein Street, which is part of the parliamentary complex.

* The parliamentary complex.

* The Gydo residence, Oranjezicht.

* Rockyvale in Rondebosch.

* De Meule in Mowbray.

A year ago, The Star reported on the free upkeep which ministers get on their state homes – including state-funded cleaning of swimming pools and khoi ponds.

The ministers’ houses were part of a huge spending spree by the state to accommodate extra ministers in Pretoria and Cape Town following the expansion of the cabinet after the 2009 elections. At least 35 houses were bought between July 2009 and early 2011, for about R193m, excluding the cost of upgrades, furnishings and security.

At the time, The Star established that the state had bought two properties at 61 Klipper Road in Rondebosch, valued at the time at R12.8m and the Oak Avenue property in July 2009 for R5.1m. These properties are now on the list of those to be investigated.

Zuma announced the SIU probes about 10 days ago and the details were proclaimed last week.

The others are investigations into the State Information and Technology Agency (Sita), the Department of Labour and its Compensation Fund, the Department of Transport and two Limpopo municipalities, Vhembe District and Greater Tubatse Local.

The Sita probe focuses on payments made to IBM SA in terms of an agreement concluded in April last year, in a manner that was “not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective”, said the SIU.

The Labour and Compensation Fund investigation includes a public-private partnership agreement with Siemens Business Services, a “termination support agreement” with EOH Managed Services Public Sector, and an agreement with the Medical Services Organisation of South Africa.

The Transport investigation focuses on the extensions to the driving licence card contract and to the National Traffic Information System in a manner which was “not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost effective” or was against the law.

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Sunday Independent