DA want Public Protector probe into former KZN Housing MEC

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Human Settlements

The Democratic Alliance will ask Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela to probe former KZN Housing MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu’s role in several Ministerial housing projects put on hold indefinitely.

The request is the result of the DA’s concern over the protracted delays surrounding the developments, in spite of being earmarked as priority projects during Mabuyakhulu’s tenure.

One of these projects is the Shallcross Flats upgrade, which was stopped by erstwhile provincial Human Settlements MEC, Maggie Govender, who cited inflated costs. She then commissioned a new scoping exercise with reduced specifications. This was three years ago.

Despite the many promises from Govender and her successor MEC Ravi Pillay, this and other projects are yet to be completed.

The DA has submitted parliamentary question to current Human Settlements MEC, Ravi Pillay. Among the questions we have asked are;

* How many Projects were identified as Ministerial Projects during MEC Mabuyakhulu’s term as MEC?

* Which projects were identified for MEC Mabuyakhulu’s personal oversight?

* Was proper Supply Chain Management process followed before these projects were awarded?

* How were the values of each project determined?

* Was the value of the projects inflated in anyway?

* Did MEC Mabuyakhulu play any role in determining the value of the tenders?

* Who authorized the awarding of the each tender?

* What was the Audit finding on the awarding of the tenders?

* Was any disciplinary action taken against the former HOD?

* How many of these projects did MEC Maggie Govender halt as a result of the Audit findings?

* What is the current status of these projects?

Other unanswered questions are whether Govender was axed because she exposed the rot and corruption so rife within her department. The DA finds it odd that she now occupies a backbench in the provincial legislature, without so much as being offered a chairmanship position. This begs the question whether this is some form of punishment. The sudden resignation of the previous Human Settlements HOD, Zandile Nyandu, is also questionable.

I will write to the Public Protector this week and request her assistance. As the DA, we believe that the time has come for these uncertainties to be investigated. It is untenable that Ministerial projects should be shelved for years on end in the face of such a desperate shortage of housing in our province.

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