by Safiyia Stanfley MPL – DA Northern Cape Constituency Head of Bo-Karoo
Date: 07 July 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA has submitted parliamentary questions to the Northern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works (DPW) seeking answers on the Department’s plans for the various unused and derelict buildings on its property portfolio. This comes after an unutilised school hostel in Vosburg burnt down last night.
A picture of the burning building can be accessed here.
It is believed that a fire, made by homeless people who were seeking shelter in the hostel, got out of control and resulted in the building burning to the ground.
The building had been standing vacant for some time and had already been stripped by the homeless people.
It is tragic that structures, such as the old Vosburg hostel, are ignored by the Public Works Department and left to go to wrack and ruin.
The local agricultural union had plans to convert the old hostel into a retirement village for the elderly people of Vosburg. However, due to administrative dithering by the DPW, this plan did not materialise.
Similarly, the Social Development Department has a standing request to the DPW to hand over unutilised government buildings to them so that they can convert them into crèches and shelters. They have also been dragging their feet in this regard.
In the meantime, valuable infrastructure is vandalised and ultimately destroyed.
Public Works needs to be held liable for all the properties on its portfolio. It needs to ensure that these propertaies are utilised for government services or alternatively, that they generate an income by renting them out to private users. And if neither of these are possible, then these facilities must be secured until they can be sold off.
A reply to a parliamentary question by the National Minister of Public Works last year, revealed that there are as many as 63 government properties in the Northern Cape that are illegally occupied.
The DA wants to know from MEC Sokatsha exactly where these buildings are situated, what the value is of each of these buildings, what state these buildings are currently in and what plans the department has for each of these buildings. We also want to know from the Roads & Public Works whether other government departments, or private institutions, have put in offers to purchase or utilize any of the buildings in question.
Infrastructure is valuable and, if properly managed has the capacity to enhance the lives of the people of this province. More must be done to ensure that infrastructure is optimized and not left to rot.
Safiyia Stanfley MPL
DA Northern Cape Constituency Head of Bo-Karoo
084 919 4157
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387