R2m spent to make house fit for a woman
Gauteng spent more than R2 million refurbishing Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s multimillion-rand state residence in Bryanston, Sandton.
This was revealed in the Gauteng legislature this week, nearly a year after Mokonyane said her state house was being refurbished.
The property in Eccleston Crescent was previously occupied by former premier Mbhazima Shilowa, and was not lived in for more than a year before being handed over to Mokonyane.
DA MPL Jack Bloom asked Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Faith Mazibuko about the refurbishment.
Mazibuko replied that the premier had her main bedroom refurbished with an en-suite bathroom and a dressing room. She also had the kitchen and laundry redone, and furniture, curtains and bedding were bought. Walls in the house were painted.
In total this cost R2 072 000.
The request for the refurbishment of the house was made last September, and work was completed in January.
Aside from the painting of the interior walls, done by the department’s painters, tenders were given to companies for the rest of the work.
Mazibuko said Home Décor had worked on the bedroom and en-suite bathroom, Katanga Property Care and Delawood Designs had done work on the kitchen, laundry and closet, Elna Curtains had made the curtains for the house, and Bakos Brothers in Fourways designed the interior and supplied the furniture.
The companies refused to comment, indicating they had signed confidentiality agreements as part of the tender process.
Bloom said he felt this was an unnecessary expense of taxpayers’ money, particularly during a recession. “It’s a poor example set when wastage and extravagance were supposed to be cut in all provincial departments. The money could have been better spent on services to the poor.”
For the same amount of money, 10 more nurses could have been hired by the government or 20 RDP houses built.
The property, owned by the Gauteng government, is valued by the City of Joburg at more than R20m. Deeds Office records show the house was bought by the government in 2004 for more than R11m. It was bought from a Christine Roux, who had paid R1.6m in the same year.
Soon afterwards, Shilowa moved in.
Mokonyane’s spokesman, Thabo Masebe, said the decision to refurbish the property was not made by the premier but by the Department of Infrastructure Development, which does an assessment of state houses based on whether they need to be upgraded. “The house was not occupied for a long time, so work was needed.”