Sun, 15 Sep 2019

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu has declined to disclose the names of SA's landlords abroad, evoking the guide to parliamentary questions in the National Assembly.

This was contained in a written reply from the minister to a question about properties that the state rents overseas.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Reneiloe Mashabela asked the minister how many buildings, properties and facilities the department owned and rented, as well as the value and purpose of each property.

Mashabela also asked how long each rented property had been rented for, whom each rented property was rented from, and the monthly rental fee for each property.

"In accordance with the established practice applicable to parliamentary questions contained in the document titled, 'guide to parliamentary questions in the National Assembly'I will not be able to provide names of property owners from which we lease properties as requested," Sisulu replied.

"The document referred to prohibits Members of Parliament, including the Executive, from divulging names of persons [and] bodies when asking or responding to parliamentary questions," she said..

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Sisulu said there were 120 state-owned properties and 693 buildings leased by the department abroad. She said the department leased 11 land parcels abroad.

"In South Africa, the Department of Public Works entered into and manages six properties for use by the department. These are for the State Protocol Lounges at OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and land lease at the Durban International Airport," said Sisulu.

Sisulu said the other three leases were for office accommodation for the Pan African Parliament, United Nations and New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development and the African Peer Review Mechanism share the same building.

"The Department leases two land parcels from the Department of Public Works, namely 460 Soutpansberg Road, Pretoria on which the O R Tambo building (the department's head office) is situated as well as land in Matroosberg Avenue, Waterkloof, Pretoria, on which the Johnny Makatini diplomatic guest house is situated," Sisulu said.

In 2015, according to written Parliamentary replies from Pravin Gordhan during his time as minister of finance, South Africa had one of the largest footprints of foreign diplomatic missions for a middle-income economy, with 122 diplomatic missions, costing the state a combined R3.2bn.

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