Government-owned apartments and homes – complete with swimming pools – are up for lease to ordinary South Africans for the first time.
The decision was prompted partly after the Department of Public Works’ Immovable Asset Register was reconstructed and completed in April and showed that the government had in excess of R75-billion worth of land parcels and buildings.
The 240 properties – previously occupied by government workers, including policemen – are being leased in a bid to generate income and offset rates and services costs.
Thousands of public servants had been living in state owned properties and paying non market-related rent of between R900 and R1 500 a month, excluding services.
“This decision is in line with our mandate under its Property Management Trading Entity of ensuring optimum utilisation of properties in the department’s custodianship,” department spokesman Thami Mchunu said.
However, DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, who sits on the portfolio committee on human settlements, slammed the move.
She said: “It is not their mandate. If you don’t need these properties, sell them. This is a recipe for corruption.”
Mchunu said: “Interested individuals need to contact the relevant offices to make an offer. The lease will be offered to the highest offer received.”
In a separate development, the department said that it, together with various tertiary institutions, had identified other properties that would be as used student housing.