DIRCO to sell several official overseas properties
In an effort to reduce the burden on SA taxpayers DIRCO has announced that it will sell some of South Africa’s official overseas properties.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) will take steps to sell several overseas properties in its portfolio.
Polity reports that officials from DIRCO have said that 18 overseas properties which house SA’s diplomats will be sold.
This was announced during a presentation before the Portfolio Committee on International Relations.
COST CUTTING MEASURES
Treasury recently raised the alarm regarding the perilous state of public finances in South Africa.
DIRCO aims to reduce the financial burden on the South African taxpayer by having fewer official residences in other countries.
Polity states that 18 overseas properties will be put up for sale. The move is expected to bring in a sum of R500m.
HIGH RUNNING COSTS
The operation of diplomatic properties abroad puts pressure on DIRCO’s budget since the cost of running these properties is paid in foreign currency.
In light of South Africa’s current financial situation, the sale of expensive overseas properties that are a drain on the country’s finances is a good way to reduce costs.
DIRCO OVERSEAS PROPERTIES
It appears that numerous official properties abroad are in less than desirable conditions. Though not all, some are just a drain on the national purse.
The Portfolio Committee conducted oversight visits to a number of South Africa’s overseas properties in locations including New York, Europe and Namibia.
The visits revealed that several of DIRCO’s overseas properties have been abandoned and had become havens for vagrants. It was also noted that various properties suffered from neglect and vandalism.
As a result of financial challenges, South Africa closed 10 of its overseas embassies, consulates and high commissions during the 2021/2022 financial year.
The missions that were closed include the following :
- Minsk (Belarus)
- Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago)
- Holy See (Vatican State)
- Helsinki (Finland)
- Milan (Italy)
- Muscat (Oman)
- Suva (Fiji)
- Lima (Peru)
- Bucharest (Romania)
- Chicago (US)