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Minister Nathi Nhleko asked to immediately audit unutilised land in terms of its potential for alternative use. PIC GCIS

Public Works waste millions of rands to maintain unused land and properties

In a written reply to a DA parliamentary question, the Department of Public Works (DPW) has revealed that it holds a staggering portfolio of land and property holdings worth over R12 billion – lying idle and unutilised.

Rates and taxes paid on these holdings comprising of 1, 9 milling on hectares and over 12 000 properties, has amounted to R138 million since 2014.

Additional R9 million has been spent in the same period maintaining these properties.

It is staggering that taxpayers are forced to pay for these non-productive properties and lands.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Public Works Malcom Figg said he will write to Minister Nathi Nhleko to demand an immediate audit of the unutilised land in terms of its potential for alternative use.

“Well-situated and unutilised land should be made available for housing for the poor. Alternatively, it must be leased or sold off to reduce the tax and maintenance burden on the state to be used for service delivery,” said Figg,

The DA finds it unacceptable that the DPW is sitting on vast acres of land while millions of South Africans continue to be excluded from land ownership.

It exposes the hypocrisy of the ANC government and its lack of commitment to addressing the land question.

Figg said Public Works Department should play its part in reducing the growing budget deficit by avoiding wasteful expenditure on properties that it does not use or need.

 

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