Why the Secrecy on Building Costs for Gauteng Premier’s House?

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

Details on costs and the tender process for building alterations at the Gauteng Premier’s official residence will not be revealed because of security considerations. So says Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a letter to the Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature explaining why she will not answer my questions on the costs of alterations at this residence last year, and which companies were contracted to do this.

According to Mahlangu: “The Department regards the matter as a risk to the safety and necessary confidentiality of the occupants of the house and therefore deems that we retain the right not to divulge any details.” The work that was done includes repairs to cracks, painting of various areas, and maintenance of air conditioning units and the CCTV cameras.

I fail to see why the costs should be a security secret, and also which companies did the work. It looks like a cover-up to me, the same as with President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence. The house in Bryanston was bought in 2004 for R11.5 million, and at least R13.5 million has already been on it. Costs have been disclosed for previous years, so why the secrecy for what was done last year?

I have submitted an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, so hopefully we will find out whether public money was spent properly in this matter.

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