The acting Director-General of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), Imtiaz Fazel, argued that the landlord’s closure of buildings in the Pretoria CBD was “illegal.” The following departments were shut down on Friday, Finance, police, water and sanitation, higher education, justice, and defence. According to Fazel, the DPWI chose not to pay rent and “went forward with not paying rent” after receiving notification from the landlords.
“It’s crucial to stress that the buildings’ closure is illegal because no court order to evict the client departments or close the facilities has been given,” Fazel stated. The illegal actions were an attempt to divert attention away from proof of overpayments that the DPWI had submitted to several landlords and was working to resolve.
Fazel claimed that prices per square metre had been raised substantially over market rates in numerous cases, and that multiple invoices for the same service had been submitted. “As a result of these findings, a rental rate benchmarking effort was conducted across the country, with a particular focus on Tshwane’’ said Fazel.
DPWI was working quickly to resolve the issue and find a long-term solution to the problem of landlords charging the state exorbitant rental costs. The SAPS recognizes the inconvenience caused by the building’s closure since last week Tuesday and takes this opportunity to thank members of the public for their patience and understanding. SAPS had no rental payment arrears.
By: Palesa Maneli.