The ratepayers of Tshwane are about to take a R7 million hit on the mayoral mansion.
The market value of the property is estimated at R5 million, but the house was renovated at a staggering cost of R12 million under the watch of former mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa.
The city is to table a motion tomorrow during its monthly council meeting to approve the sale of the mayoral mansion, also dubbed the “house of corruption”. If this motion is approved, the house will be sold on auction soon.
Meanwhile, the DA-led administration is still busy with a probe into the renovations, because it believes the amount of R12 million does not justify the work done to the house.
According to the city, the renovations entail improvements to the walls, paving, swimming pool and an automated irrigation and gate system.
“We are of the view that the R12 million was misused on dodgy renovations by the previous ANC administration,” mayor Solly Msimanga said.
The property is a single residential dwelling with five bedrooms, two en-suite bathrooms, two additional full bathrooms, two separate guest toilets, entrance foyer, dining room, lounge, TV room, family room, scullery, pantry and a fully fitted kitchen with built-in cupboards throughout.
There is also a study on the ground floor with two outside staff rooms.
Msimanga has since pressed criminal charges against those implicated in a forensic investigation instituted under the ANC-led administration into the project and said these investigations are ongoing.
He also appointed a special investigating unit to complement the existing forensic services division to deal with corruption and fraud cases involving city officials.
These units deal with the high-level corruption cases such as the mayoral mansion’s “dubious upgrades”, the shoe-polish contract exposé and the City Hall upgrades.
Tshwane ANC’s deputy chairperson, Mapiti Matsena, said the ANC has no problem with the DA wanting to sell the mayoral mansion.
“If the city wants to sell the house, we don’t have a problem as long as it is going to be sold at a market-related price and not below market value,” Matsena said.
Matsena added they are aware of the fact that the DA wants to sell the house below market value and they will not agree to that.
“They wanted to make excuses that there was some sort of corruption involved during the renovations of the house and they were quick to open cases, but up till today, no one has been arrested and nothing happened to the cases to date,” Matsena said.
The city has confirmed that a report on the sale of the mayoral house will be tabled tomorrow, but refused to give any detail.
Msimanga said the proceeds from the sale of the mayoral mansion will be used to upgrade and fully formalise seven informal settlements over the 2017/18 financial year. – firstname.lastname@example.org