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Wednesday Sep 28, 2016

Gauteng Premier's controversial house to go on auction

Gauteng Premier David Makhura's official residence in Bryanston, Sandton, is up for sale. He revealed this yesterday in a reply to questions by the DA's Jack Bloom in the legislature.

See: Premier's House racks up 30m in repairs.

The entrance to the premier's Bryanston house. It was bought in 2004 for R11.5m and subsequently repaired for R20m.

Makhura said the executive council had given the Department of Infrastructure Development a mandate to sell all houses owned by the provincial government, including the Bryanston home.

"We are confident that this decision will not only save us money from maintenance, but will help raise additional resources to fund the TMR (transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation) priorities such as student bursaries and the rollout of Tshepo 500 000, an initiative to enable and equip unemployed youth, women and people with disabilities as well as military veterans to benefit from the project.

"We will keep only the property portfolio and the land assets which add value," Makhura said.

The majority of the properties were occupied by public servants, some of whom, Makhura confirmed, were refusing to pay rent.

Thirty-one properties would be disposed of at the first online auction towards the end of next month.

In March, Bloom revealed that the provincial government had spent more than R20 million on the Bryanston house's upkeep, including many repairs and refurbishments, since it was bought in March 2004 for R11.5m for then premier Mbhazima Shilowa.

He had said the provincial government had spent R4.2m on the house since May 2014, when Makhura took the decision not to live there.

Bloom said Gauteng was spending about R1.5m a year on maintaining the property.

In May, Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo had confirmed that the government had put more than 500 upmarket houses in all suburban areas on sale, with the aim of using the revenue collected to build new schools and low-cost houses.

Some of the houses, including those in Sandton, Sunninghill, Alberton and Centurion, are worth more than R1m, and some as much as R5m. The value of some of the houses could be more because the latest property valuations on most of them were in 2007.

At the time, Mamabolo said the decision to sell the upmarket houses was taken by Makhura and his executive in March.

A moratorium on the sale of the houses was put in place in 2009.

In March, the Department of Infrastructure had revealed it had 81 houses in Tshwane, 39 on the West Rand, 128 in Joburg, 186 in Ekurhuleni as well as 75 in the south of Joburg.

They are not RDP houses but fully fledged homes, some with up to five bedrooms.

Various other houses were also illegally occupied. Some of the occupants were defaulters and had been living in the houses for 10 or more years.

In October 2010, the Department of Infrastructure found that some of the occupants had paid bribes to officials to gain access to the properties. Some were paying less than market-related rentals.

And in May, Mamabolo announced that the moratorium on the sale of the houses had been lifted and the government was ready to dispose of 509 residential properties valued at R443.8m.

He said Tirhani Auctioneers had been appointed to conduct the auctions.

The Star




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