The portfolio committee on the Prime Ministerâ€™s Ministries and Departments, Governance, Foreign Relations and Information cluster Chairperson TÅ¡eliso Kalake said thereâ€™s a government building has been turned into a prostitution brothel and a den of criminals.
Kalake said this while presenting the committeeâ€™s report on the inspection of government properties in the Republic of South Africa to the National Assembly this week.
The committee conducted the inspection from March 2 to 6 this year. He said the committee visited three areas in South Africa; Welkom where they observed that there are six government owned properties including an industrial site (plot No. 9 Kwartz Street), two undeveloped sites with a shack owned by a local person who was said to be guarding the sites (plot No.5547 and plot No. 5548, Thabong Location).
They also carried out physical inspection on eight properties in Pretoria including the Chancery and Johannesburg after learning that some of the properties are being rented out to generate revenue for the Government, whereas some properties were not generating the expected revenue particularly the Indent House.
He said the Committee observed that the Lesotho Government owns 19 properties in Johannesburg. Four of these properties are being used by the Consulate staff members; eleven are rented out and others are unoccupied. In particular, house No. 26 Oxford Avenue, Sand Hurst, Houses No. 39, No. 59 and No. 63 Highbury, Killarney, Houses No. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8 Boahelani, 57 Leicester Road, Bedford view, Quartz Street, 75 Sunnycrest 7th Floor 107, Hillbrow, House numbers 104, 301, 304, 601 and 704 Sunnycrest, Unit No. 35 (Flat 903) 6 Olivia Road Sorrento Berea, Unit No. 4, 9 Storey Building, 130 President Street; and Indent House, 130 President Street.
â€œThe Indent House is a 9 storey building located in the heart of Johannesburg. The ground floor is rented out as retail space while the first and second floors are packing areas. The upper six floors are office spaces. Currently, only the ground floor of the building is being rented out. The building is totally in a very poor state. The upper floors are occupied by vagrants, prostitute ring and criminal elements who have effectively hijacked the building,â€ he said.
He continued that some of the buildings are ramshackle, and these include Quartz, Sunny crest where Lesotho owns five flats in Hillbrow as well as flat 903 Sorrento, Berea, Olivia Road.
Government owns five flats (104, 301, 304, 601 and 704) in the block in Hillbrow and they are all rented out and managed by the estate agency. These are 6 roomed apartments in the block. The apartments seem to be occupied by several people, although there is one name on each tenancy agreement. The flat is in a very dilapidated state. In some apartments tenants have made minor repairs at their own expenses but not refunded by the agent.
â€œThe Government of Lesotho owns one 6 roomed apartment in this block. The flat is occupied by several people but there is one tenant on the lease agreement. The flat is very dilapidated. The tenant who has been living there for more than five years claims that he has been doing repairs out of his expenses and has not been refunded,â€ he said.
Most of the unoccupied properties in Johannesburg which have degenerated into criminal syndicate hubs have borne very heart wrenching stories wherein at times even Basotho have fallen prey to such.