Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Millions spent on mayoral mansion ‘above board’

The spokesperson for the City of uMhlathuze in KwaZulu-Natal has dismissed claims made by a Democratic Alliance councillor that a mansion being built for Mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo is being constructed at inflated costs and without approval.

Councillor Christo Botha said he wrote to municipal manager Nhlanhla Sibeko to seek clarity on where the funding for the mayoral mansion project was sourced.

He also questioned why details of the development had not been communicated to the local council or the public.

“What is of concern is that the matter and its support resolutions were not brought to council for proper deliberation and engagement. Construction of the mansion is underway at the Meer En See suburb, where clearing on the 4 470m2 yard has begun,” Botha said.

He said the site for the project had been located and that the land was estimated to be worth between R5-million and R6.5-million.

“A further concern is that the development notice says the clearing is intended for municipal housing and no mention [is made] of the fact that the mayor’s mansion is to be erected.”

Public-private partnership development

Botha said he had consulted with building contractors who estimated that the development could cost R13 500 per square metre bringing construction costs to R12.3-million.

“This excludes the erection of a boundary wall, landscaping and paving and security features which can raise the cost by an added R2-million.”

Botha said there would also be the cost of furniture and interior decoration that could further escalate the price tag.

“It could be anything from between R750 000 to R1.5-million if we are being modest. The continued housekeeping and garden maintenance costs that can range from R20 000 to R25 000 a month.”

Botha said if used correctly, the amount he estimated could be used to fund a public-private partnership development.

“We could have a development of 40 to 65 residential apartments valued at anything between R450 000 to R600 000 each, providing an added cash injection to the City of R29 250 000 to R39 000 000. [This is] money that can be reinvested in social housing or the City’s healthcare, monies that can be injected into youth business development or a booster injection to fixing the City’s infrastructure.”

City dismisses high cost claims

City spokesperson Mdu Ncalane, however, dismissed the cost estimates by Botha, maintaining the estimated costs were R5.5m, an amount set aside for the project.

Ncalane justified the mansion purchase saying it was a “strategic investment”.

“[It creates] lasting impressions to potential investors. We as a municipality have not compromised on service delivery; in fact we are one of the fastest growing cities, contrary to what councillor Botha will have you believe.”

Ncalane added: “People who are short-sighted may perceive the municipal house as a private residence for the incumbent mayor whereas the reality is that mayors serve their terms and they vacate the office. The municipal house will remain a municipal house regardless of who the incumbent is and or whichever political party he or she may come from.”

He said the project had been approved “as per the Government Gazette number 37281 of 29 January 2014 regulating councillors’ tools of trade and subsequently approved by the council back in 2014/2015 financial year. It was also included in the budget which was approved by council, where councillor Botha sits as a member.” — News 24

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Kaveel Singh
Kaveel Singh
News 24 Journalist.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Bloated Sassa to make staff cuts

The social security agency has ‘lost’ R2-billion on unnecessary salaries and through wasteful expenditure

SANDF’s ‘dignity’ comes with a R200mn price tag

Find out about the SANDF’s new uniform, which is costing taxpayers close to R200-million, while mission-critical equipment is not maintained

More top stories

Young people call for an end to the terrible legacy...

‘The generation of 1976 did not fight to end the injustices of their time only for there to be the dawn of a climate apartheid’

Honey laundering: Transcontinental scheme puts fake honey into our supermarkets

South African beekeepers compete with cheap honey imports while still using ethical, bee-friendly practices

Gen Z: A joyful life in a damaged society

The moral dilemma of privilege has led to nihilism as well as unprecedented social justice action

Lipstick, blush and Boko Haram: Meet the make-up artists of...

Despite the insurgency, which has killed many people, caused the displacement of millions, confines women to traditional roles and forbids the education of girls, women are fending for their families and starting lucrative businesses. Meet the make-up artists of Maiduguri

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…