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Monday Aug 07, 2017

Only R5m for mayoral house renovated for R12m

The 12 million used by the former ANC administration in Tshwane for renovations that went awry at the mayoral mansion cannot be recovered.

The Tshwane mayoral mansion has been valued at just R5 million.

This was evidenced by a property evaluator, who priced the house in Muckleneuk, at only R5 million.

Executive mayor Solly Msimanga said that given the latest valuation it would be an uphill battle to regain the millions squandered on its controversial renovations.

The renovations were initially estimated at R1.2m, but rose to R12m without any explanation.

The project had been commissioned by former mayor Kgosientso "Sputla" Ramokgopa. It was part of the R132m project which included the City Hall.

When the DA-led administration came into power last year, it uncovered a trail of corruption and poor workmanship.

The evaluation was carried out following a pronouncement by Msimanga during the 2017 State of the Capital Address that the property would be put up for sale and the money used for service delivery.

Msimanga told the Pretoria News the house was soon to go under the hammer and the city hoped to make more than R5m. He conceded that the city would not be able to get back the millions of rand used in the renovations.

During his visit last year, he found the house was in a bad condition due to poor workmanship. Cupboards, closet doors and garage door were falling apart. Rainwater seeped in through the badly tiled roof.

"There are leakages in the plumbing. If you open certain taps, you have water flowing on to the floor."

Part of the renovation was to install a video conferencing room and make the house conducive for the mayor to host diplomats.

The property has double garages, office space, more than three bedrooms and a swimming pool.

Its main gate is always locked under the watchful eye of Tshwane Metro Police officers, who are stationed there 24 hours a day.

Msimanga said the money raised from the sale would be injected into housing projects to benefit the poor.

Reflecting on a year since he assumed office, Msimanga said the housing issue was prioritised, given the recent unrest in the city by people demanding to be housed.

"The constant disturbance and obstruction to this agenda is the ANC, which has since been defeated. It attempted to make the delivery of the houses and infrastructure more difficult than it needs to be."

The ANC previously denied Ramokgopa used the house as his residence. However, his predecessor and aunt, Gwen Ramokgopa - also former mayor - lived there.

Msimanga has since opened criminal charges against those implicated in a forensic investigation instituted under the ANC-led administration into the project.

Pretoria News

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