DA KZN:  Provincial government spending almost R300 million annually on office space rentals 

Francois Rodgers, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance

The DA in KZN will put pressure on the ANC-led provincial cabinet to look at purchasing buildings in and around the Pietermaritzburg Legislature in a bid to reduce the provincial government’s office rental bill.

This after a parliamentary reply which reveals that a staggering R280 million is being spent on leasing government office space each year.

The reply, from KZN Public Works MEC, Ravi Pillay, shows that there are currently 179 leases with a monthly rental tab of R23million.  The KZN Department of Health tops the list with a bill of R5.1million followed by the education department with a monthly figure of R4.8million.

Whether the rentals being charged are market-related and whether the offices are being efficiently utilised is also questionable and the DA will call for a full audit on these leases to establish whether the provincial government is getting value for its money.

The amount of money being shelled out on renting office space is extremely disturbing.

The DA strongly believe that while it may mean spending money initially, KZN’s ANC leadership must look into purchasing buildings outright, in particular in the capital city.

The Legislature and its many employees are the life-blood of Pietermaritzburg’s CBD – building a monument to the ANC in the form of a new precinct on the outskirts of town is definitely not the answer.

Buildings in and around the existing parliamentary precinct must be purchased and renovated.  This is in line global best practice and will contribute massively to the economic development of the area.  It would also be a significant boost in terms of urban renewal and re-establish downtown Pietermaritzburg as an important tourism and historical node

Research also shows that the decentralisation of businesses and others exacerbates social development, increasing the gap between rich and poor.

The DA challenges the Premier and his executive to rethink the way in which things are being done and to begin investigating the option of purchasing buildings.  The alternative is a dying CBD.