On Tuesday 19 July, the Democratic Alliance (DA) wrote to the Public Protector’s office to request an urgent investigation into the R2.6 million the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia De Lille’s Department spent on generators and fuel for various Ministers since 2021.

“To abuse taxpayers’ money in this way is nothing but a repeat of what happened at Nkandla during the Zuma years. Former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, stated in her report, ‘Secure in Comfort’, that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) failed to apply their minds when considering the Nkandla-upgrades. Minister De Lille’s actions in allowing her colleagues to unduly benefit from the installation and operation of these generators, falls into the same category as the abuse of public money for former President Jacob Zuma’s benefit” says DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Samantha Graham-Maré.

The letter above shows clearly that DPWI has contravened subsection 3 and 5 of the Guide for Members of the Executive, which state that Members of the Executive are responsible for costs regarding the procurement, upkeep and maintenance of their private residences and that any costs for water and electricity at their State-owned residences above R5 000 per month will be paid by the Member.

“It is simply vile that Minister De Lille would prioritise her comrades, instead of being proactive and using this money to ensure power for all hospitals and clinics, crime hotspots and struggling small enterprises” says Samantha Graham-Maré.

“This latest incident has shown that for Minister De Lille, the comfort and protection of the Executive is of far bigger consideration than the welfare of South Africans. Her track record during her term of office, from the Beitbridge border ‘washing line’, crumbling South African Police Service (SAPS) facilities, nearly 4 000 government properties that could have been prioritised as housing projects but are falling to vandalism, and no progress on Parliament nearly 8 months after it burnt down reflects a Minister, aligned with the ANC and clearly out of touch with the needs of ordinary citizens.”

Samantha Graham-Maré further added that the Ministers found to have contravened the Guide must repay the money, and that it must be prioritised to support vulnerable South Africans.

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