Free State dept engages stakeholders on leases in Bloemfontein

South Africa: The Free State Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, the provincial custodian of all immovable assets of the province, held a stakeholder engagement on leases at Protea Hotel in Bloemfontein on 31 October 2023.

Free State dept engages stakeholders on leases in Bloemfontein
Free State dept engages stakeholders on leases in Bloemfontein Image credit: Facebook

South Africa: The Free State Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, the provincial custodian of all immovable assets of the province, held a stakeholder engagement on leases at Protea Hotel in Bloemfontein on 31 October 2023.

The purpose of this strategic session was to establish good stakeholder relations, create an environment wherein government and landlords can interact openly, strengthen communication between both parties, join hands in growing the economy and build better communities.

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Furthermore, the engagement was to mitigate against the 2022/23 negative audit opinion that the department received.

The engagement with landlords follows a meeting between EXCO led by Premier Dukwana Mxolisi and the Auditor-General (AG), Tsakane Maluleka. The AG’s audit report findings on Public Works and Infrastructure identified the department’s property management as a matter of concern, i.e. falling short of sound financial management as required by the PFMA.

Amongst issues raised was that the department was paying rates that were above the current property rates to landlords, which undermines pieces of legislation that guide such lease agreements and financial management processes.

Addressing stakeholders, MEC Dibolelo Mance said that the property sector is one of the cardinal pillars of the country’s transformation and economic development agenda and that property management is also the department’s second-highest expenditure item.

Therefore, it is of fundamental importance that the management of property responds to this mandate and realigns with the strategic objectives of the department and that of the province.

Lack of maintenance of infrastructure, including buildings, is one of the major reasons that are currently eroding potential investment opportunities and leading to disinvestment. Therefore, landlords are urged to perform routine maintenance checks on their buildings to ensure that they are in good condition.

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“Collectively, must build an inclusive society whose pursuit is to develop our province. This engagement is about building and developing our communities; profit notwithstanding, our relationship with one another must transcend beyond monetary gain. We all have a cardinal responsibility to develop our province and to make sure that we contribute to attracting investment, growing the economy and creating opportunities, particularly for the youth,” said Premier Dukwana Mxolisi.