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Thursday, 04 July 2024 23:15

Public works tightens the belt on spending on accommodation and office space for MPs.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Newly sworn-in Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Dean Macpherson is tightening the belt on spending on accommodation and office space procurement for MPs, ministers and their deputies.

In a statement released on Thursday, Macpherson said allocations would be made from the existing state properties and that requests for new procurement would not be entertained.

Macpherson, a DA MP, was announced as the public works and infrastructure minister in the government of national unity arrangement that makes up the seventh administration. 

His statement comes after years of the department's heavy spending on accommodation for parliamentarians, deputy ministers, and ministers, refurbishing rentals, and procuring office space.

An estimated R93 million the department doled out from 2019 to 2022 to maintain the official residences for ministers, deputy ministers and directors-general, as well as their related municipal services.

"Those days are over," said Macpherson, there will be no spending on existing properties, and members of the executive and Parliament will have to make do with existing furniture. Similarly, no new office rentals will be entertained.

Macpherson said all MPs, ministers and their deputies would be housed in available state properties. 

"The department has confirmed to me that there is enough available stock to meet the needs of both the members of the executive and members of Parliament," Macpherson said. 

He added that the country's constrained fiscal position necessitated his decision.

"My number one priority is to invest in infrastructure and turn South Africa into a massive construction site under the theme, 'Let's Build SA'," Macpherson said.