By Langa Bodlani MPL, DA Limpopo Spokesperson on LEDET:
At a recent portfolio committee meeting of the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) it was revealed that the Limpopo Gambling Board (LGB) is paying a staggering R605,000.00 per month for the rental of its offices.
This lease agreement started in 2013 at R500,000.00 per month and has an annual increase of 10% per annum. The rental is therefore currently over R600,000.00 per month.
The lease agreement has a lifespan of 10 years and by the time that period comes to an end, the taxpayers would have paid R120 million. This is R70 million more than the National Gambling Board has contracted for its national head office in Sandton, Gauteng.
If the Limpopo department would rather purchase the building it would cost R80 million. The choice by Limpopo to spend R70 million more than the entire National Gambling Board Head Office, and to spend R40 million more than purchasing the building is a blatant abuse of public funds.
To compound this matter, the LGB is currently unable to conduct compliance audits on Limpopo’s gambling outlets because of financial constraints.
The DA pushed for this department to explore all options including the purchase of this building or the cancellation of this lease and paying of the penalty fee. This will definitely be the more cost effective option.
Every effort to cut costs to save the taxpayers’ money must be government’s priority.
This comes after the South African national gambling board was shown by the DA to be procuring national offices at inflated prices. The required lease space for the National Head Office was 714 square metres, yet the leased building is 1800 square metres, at 3 times the normal cost per square metre.
It appears that the Gambling Boards have become cash cows for greedy property renters, and the Department is doing nothing to stop the waste of public money. The DA will probe this matter to get to the bottom of how the department agreed in the first place to bind itself to such an exorbitant rent.
We will be submitting questions for written reply to LEDET MEC Mr Sekoati to determine who are the owners of the landlord company which is leasing the building to the Limpopo Gambling Board.
The DA’s values charter emphasises a government which is responsible for the money that is paid by the taxpayers, that this money should be spent for the benefit of the people.