All Prestige projects are now undergoing investigation

Public Work Minister Thulas Nxesi says his department has taken “firm control” of Prestige projects by centralising them, implementing a new structure and creating a direct reporting line to the Director-General.

Delivering his 2013/14 Budget Vote Speech in Parliament on Wednesday, Nxesi said the new measures had already resulted in the cancellation of a number of high-priced projects.

Prestige projects constitute renovations to ministerial houses.

“All Prestige projects are now undergoing investigation. The process is complete in regard to Pretoria. We have now extended the investigation to Cape Town, where R100 million was spent on renovating 11 houses,” he said.

The minister said many of the problems surrounding the security upgrade at Nkandla were rooted in the failure of supply chain management processes, poor management and lack of accountability.

He said the department had completed its preliminary internal investigation at the beginning of the year. It has since referred its findings to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for further investigation.

“We are also cooperating with the Public Protector’s investigation. Parliament is planning to discuss our report, and the Auditor-General has undertaken to audit Prestige projects.

“I can assure honourable members that no stone is being left unturned. I have given an undertaking, that as a Department, we will act against any official where evidence of wrong-doing exists.”

Nxesi said policy proposals on norms and standards will be presented to the Executive for a decision by June 30th.

The minister said the department had completed an audit of heritage buildings and had drawn up a detailed inventory of moveable assets, with photos and valuation certificates.

“This greatly assists in safeguarding these important heritage items. It also provides a baseline for decision making on the future care of heritage sites.

“In this respect, I need to point out that maintenance of heritage buildings is an expensive business,” he said.

South African Government News Agency

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