MEC Must Cooperate with Investigation

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The following is a member’s statement by Anthony Benadie to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature earlier today.

I rise to deliver a statement on behalf of the Democratic Alliance, to welcome the announcement made by the office of the Public Protector to investigate several questionable land deals in Mpumalanga, following a complaint submitted by the DA.

Honourable Speaker, the DA has for some time been concerned about government land deals where intermediaries pocket millions in profits by disproportionately inflating land prices when selling to government departments.

In fact, this has become such a trend that land is transferred from the seller, to the intermediary, to the government in one day, which makes it clear that these deals are taking place with the full knowledge of land and supply chain officials.

Some examples include:

· Bongiveli cc, who made a staggering R24 million in 6 minutes, when the farm Rietspruit outside Ermelo was transferred from the seller to their name and on to the Department of Human Settlements,

· Pacific Breeze Trading, who bought and sold two holdings to the Mbombela Municipality at R14,8 million and R10,3 million over the prevailing market rate of the time.

Honourable Speaker, a brief look at some land deals raise more questions than answers, in one case, the Mpumalanga Housing Finance Company purchased a 11,7hectare piece of land in White River for R4,7 million, while the Department of Human Settlements paid almost double, R8,5 million for land half the size (4,7 hectares) also located in White River.

Honourable Speaker, the DA last year asked the Public Protector to investigate the Bongiveli deal, and we have asked the Public Protector to investigate several other land deals as well.

While the DA eagerly awaits the outcome of the Public Protector’s investigation, we call on the Department of Human Settlements and especially MEC Masango, to provide their full cooperation to this investigation, and to provide the Public Protector all information required – in a hopeful attempt to stop land corruption and those milking our province of hundreds of millions of rand.

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