Over R95 million spent on Ramaphosa’s Presidential residence

The upkeep of presidential residences in Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria cost R95 million between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2023.

This is according to public works minister Sihle Zikalala’s response to parliamentary questions from Democratic Alliance MP Leon Schreiber.

There are two properties in Cape Town and Pretoria and one in Durban that President Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy president Paul Mashatile use.

The presidential residences in Pretoria have been the most expensive, with water and electricity, rates and taxes, and maintenance for the two properties totalling almost R46 million over the five years.

Maintenance costs contributed the most to this total at R41 million.

The presidential residences in Pretoria — Mahlamba Ndlopfu and OR Tambo — are located in Bryntirion Estate in Hatfield.

JL Dube house in Durban cost almost R30 million over the five years, with water and electricity bills totalling R6.5 million and property rates and taxes of R7.2 million.

Maintenance costs were once again the most significant contributor at R16 million.

The presidential residences in Cape Town are located in the Groote Schuur Estate in Rondebosch.

Upkeep costs for the two properties totalled R19.5 million for the five years.

Ramaphosa scraps unlimited free electricity and water for Ministers

In October 2022, Ramaphosa withdrew an amendment to the Executive Members Guide, giving cabinet ministers and their deputies unlimited free utilities to their official residences.

“President Ramaphosa acknowledges and appreciates the public sentiments on the matter,” said presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.

“However, the impression created that the amendments were conducted in secrecy and to avoid public scrutiny is false.”

“The withdrawal will give effect to the 2019 version of the Executive Guide, pending a review,” he added.

The 2019 Executive Members Guide stipulates that ministers’ utility bills at their official residences are still covered by up to R5,000 per month.

The announcement came after Ramaphosa scrapped the R5,000 monthly limit in April 2022.

The ministerial handbook now was amended to state that “the department responsible for public works shall be responsible for the costs associated with the provision of water and electricity to official residences”.

However, the perks of being part of Ramaphosa’s cabinet didn’t stop at free municipal rates.

The president also increased the spending limit for luxury cars and supplied their official residences with generators.

Cabinet ministers and deputies could spend up to R800,000 when purchasing a new vehicle, up from R700,000 as specified in 2019.

Upkeep costs for South Africa’s presidential residences in Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria, from April 2018 to March 2023 are summarised in the table below.

Presidential residences upkeep costs
Category 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 Combined
Cape Town
Utilities R2,170,556 R2,128,400 R1,827,932 R2,093,436 R2,691,952 R10,912,276
Rates R170,879 R177,539 R125,366 R134,809 R141,600 R750,194
Maintenance R2,299,632 R2,261,245 R1,070,952 R554,205 R1,627,597 R7,813,630
Total R19,476,099
Durban
Utilities R865,920 R932,910 R3,508,588 R602,028 R611,042 R6,520,488
Rates R972,274 R2,982,243 R1,088,433 R1,142,646 R1,037,049 R7,222,644
Maintenance R7,422,204 R2,003,112 R1,702,077 R1,956,773 R3,098,778 R16,182,944
Total R29,926,076
Pretoria
Utilities R259,671 R209,536 R1,396,179 R554,272 R555,414 R2,975,072
Rates R297,018 R237,488 R235,456 R306,125 R279,424 R1,355,511
Maintenance R13,203,803 R5,657,133 R6,491,124 R9,188,298 R6,942,520 R41,482,878
Total R45,813,462
Overall R95,215,637

Now read: Ramaphosa puts cabinet on notice

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Over R95 million spent on Ramaphosa’s Presidential residence