Patricia de Lille Open Letter to DA Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration, Leon Schreiber, MP on Ministerial Houses.
I note the comments made in the media by DA Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration, Leon Schreiber, MP regarding the value of state-owned residences for Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
In my response to his Parliamentary Question about the value of official residences for Ministers and Deputy Ministers, I responded with information obtained from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure on the current value of the state-owned properties occupied by Ministers and Deputy Ministers during their term of office.
It must be noted that the amount does not mean that nearly R1billion was spent on purchasing these residences as many of them were acquired years ago and before 2019, meaning they were purchased for below the current value, as the value of these properties have increased over time as per the trend of the property market and valuations by municipalities.
MP Schreiber should know in almost all cases, the value of any property increases over time.
Mr. Schreiber is also reminded that in my Parliamentary Question response, I stated that no money was spent on security upgrades at official residences for Ministers and Deputy Ministers since 2019.
It should also be noted that the provision of residences for Minister’s and Deputy Ministers forms part of the provisions of the Guide for Members of the Executive.
More so, historically, since before 1994, the State has always provided houses to members of the executive. This was a practice we inherited and is due to the structure of government with Parliament in Cape Town and the seat of government/the executive, being in Pretoria. The Groote Schuur Estate in Cape Town and the Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria, which has several Ministerial residences and residences for the President and Deputy President, was in fact acquired by the apartheid government for this purpose.
The provision of residences is part of the tools of trade for Members of the Executive as outlined in the Guide for Members of the Executive. The guide seeks to provide administrative and support assistance to a Member.
It must also be noted that the State is not responsible for any maintenance and repairs at the private residences of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
Schreiber is attempting to insinuate that the democratic government brought on this practice and he blatantly ignores the fact that this was an inherited practice which has been in place since before 1994 and before my term in office. This practice has been in place since 1948 when the National Party was in government.
Issued by: Department of Public Works and Infrastructure