Public Works Minister Thulas-Nxesi has confirmed that rental payments for a number of ministerial residences have not been paid and that some of the debt is more than three months old.
Nxesi was asked by the Democratic Alliance’s Malcolm Figg for details of the outstanding amount owed on each residence as well as the names of Cabinet ministers in arrears and the location of their homes.
In his parliamentary question, Figg also wanted to know the rental costs for the ministerial residences and what steps the Public Works Department was taking to recover the money owed.
Nxesi says officials are busy verifying with the relevant ministries just how much money is owed in outstanding rent on some ministerial homes and says it would be premature for him to release unverified figures at this stage.
But in his written reply, Nxesi thanks Figg for bringing what he calls “a crucial matter” to his attention.
He says there may have been “a systemic lapse” in collecting rents from ministers and their deputies because some of the amounts are “beyond” what he says “would be regarded as normal debt, that is, under three months of rental owed”.
The minister says he’s asked officials to reconcile and verify all amounts owed and sought assurance that rent is collected from ministers and deputy ministers monthly.
Figg, who is the DA Shadow Minister of Public Works said that he will hold the Department and Nxesi accountable and ensure that the rent is paid.
“The DA believes in good governance and accountability. We cannot have a situation where Cabinet Ministers are not paying what is due,” said Figg (who is in the featured photograph).