City of Tshwane mayor Solly Masimanga is set to sell off the multi-million rand Tshwane mayoral mansion, widely dubbed the “house of corruption.
The decision to sell off the mansion located in the suburb of Muckleneuk is in line with the DA’s mayor’s stand against corruption in the city which according to him has hindered the mayoral city’s development.
The Tshwane mayoral mansion was inherited by the municipality from the defunct Pretoria City Council under the apartheid regime. It was for many years used as the official residence of the mayor of the capital and arguably a seat for a variety of corrupt acts taking place in the municipality.
But, having wrestled the municipality from the ANC in the 2016 local elections, the new mayor of the city, Msimanga refused to move into the mansion, saying he perceive the house as a home for corruption.
The mayor, while delivering his 2017 State of the Capital address on Thursday, announced the imminent sale of the property to the highest bidder for less than R12 million – the amount the ANC regime claimed to have used to renovate the house during its regime.
Though Msimanga made no mention of the exact money expected from the house purchase, it is argued that the mansion will generate roughly R5 to R6 million for the city based on its current condition. More so, the Mayor said the money generated from the sale would be injected into housing projects to benefit the poor.
Report has it that the former ANC administration stated in its R132m refurbishment project, that the mayoral mansion would be renovated with an estimated sum of R1.2 million, but a shocking report has it that the cost for renovating the Tshwane mayoral mansion skyrocketed to R12 million without any intensive explanation given as to why it is so.
Other properties claimed to be refurbished by the ANC include the City hall which was commissioned under the watch of former mayor Kgosientso Sputla Ramokgopa.
Part of the renovation was to install the video conferencing room and make the house conducive for the mayor to host diplomats. An ANC insider noted that the renovations were generally seen as a way of making a working space for the mayor instead of beautifying the property.
The property has double garages, the mayor’s office space, more than three bedrooms and a big swimming pool. Its main gate is always locked under the watchful eyes of Tshwane Metro Police officers, who are stationed there 24 hours every day.
Msimanga has since pressed criminal charges with the police against those implicated in a forensic investigation instituted under the ANC-led administration into the project.
Visiting the property shortly after he was sworn in as the city mayor, Msimanga said the so-called renovation only left the house in a bad shape due to poor workmanship.
“There are leakages in the plumbing. If you open certain taps, you have water flowing onto the floor,” Msimanga said, adding that some of the cupboards, closet doors and garage doors in the Tshwane mayoral mansion were already falling apart.
He also said rainwater flowed into the house because of how badly the roof was tiled.
Meanwhile, the ANC reacted to Masimaga’s decision to sell off the house, saying it has no problem with it. Instead, it disagreed with the mayor’s claim that Ramokgopa used the house as his residence.
The ANC leader in council, Mapiti Matsena explained that Ramokgopa was advised not to use the house for residential purposes because he was entitled to a housing allowance.
She said the party’s advice to Ramokgopa stemmed from the Auditor-General’s report of 2010/11, which queried the use of the mayoral house by the mayor despite his receiving a housing allowance.