Patricia de Lille, as New Minister, Comes out Guns Blazing in Parliament

CAPE TOWN – In her maiden speech to parliament as the Minister of Public Works, former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille yesterday came out guns blazing, warning of immediate lifestyle audits of her officials and public scrutiny of all her government procurement contracts.

Patricia de Lille, Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure.

De Lille said her department had been instructed with immediate effect to remove “the veil of secrecy” over procurement and open all procurement processes to public scrutiny.

She also said there would be lifestyle audits of department management going back to June 2010, and she would be the first audited.

Summarising her speech on Twitter, De Lille covered numerous other matters that have been in the news recently, from overspending by government departments to unused public buildings.

She said the Department of Trade and Industry had been asked to clarify proposed staff bonuses of R8 million for the end of this year – as well as contemplated 18 percent salary increases next year, and 100 percent increases “to cover travel, accommodation and telephone expenses!”

Raising the issue of the controversial Telkom Towers in Pretoria, which were bought five years ago to transform into new headquarters for the SA Police but are still standing empty, she said costs have ballooned from R600 million to R1.6 billion.

She said the department would immediately withdraw staff from the project management process and assign the task to a “competent project management company”.

She also said court processes were under way to recover R155 million in excessive expenditure on Jacob Zuma’s home at Nkandla.