The Department of Public Works has claimed R30 000 in unpaid rentals from 13 former MPs, who overstayed at the Parliamentary Villages, after the expiry of their month-long grace period, on 7 June.
The amount also includes rental arrears of R12 000 dating back to earlier this year. In terms of the regulations, non-returning Members of Parliament (MPs) are allowed to stay at the Parliamentary Villages for a month after the elections day. The elections were held on 7 May.
But the former MPs, in some cases their school-going children did not vacate the premises on 6 June. The department gave permission to some of them to stay on, but did not waiver their obligation to pay for the market-related rent for the accommodation.
Last week, the department issued letters to the former MPs aising them to leave the premises by last Sunday, on 29 June. By Thursday, all but four former MPs had not moved out. The department’s action comes in the wake of the conclusion of the process of providing government accommodation to MPs.
Shortly after the elections many MPs were accommodated at private hotels while some of the houses at the village were being renovated. The department made block bookings in line with rates that were pre-approved by the National Treasury.
Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has granted an extension of stay at the Parliamentary Villages, to former MP Cecil Burgess, to a smaller residence, for a period of three months and will be charged a market related rental, accordingly.
“As the department, we are pleased with the completion of the process. We are happy that we have finally fulfilled our constitutional mandate of finding accommodation for the new MPs of the fifth democratic Parliament.
“There were many challenges but our team worked tirelessly over long spells and eventually we achieved our goals. In terms of good governance, the department is compelled to claim the outstanding rentals from the MPs. We will also levy interests if the debts are not settled by 7 July.”
The department will also use the normal route of recovering the monies should any of the parties fail to pay the outstanding rentals. “But we hope that it will not come to that – and the arrears will be settled soon,” the department said. – SANews.gov.za
Source : SAnews.gov.za