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Government selling South Africa houses

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By Serah Makondetsa:

Malawi News investigations have established that a delegation of seven civil servants were in South Africa to assess three referral homes owned by the Ministry of Health with an intention to sell them.

A source who confided in us but opted for anonymity said the delegation comprising officials from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and Ministry of Finance arrived in the rainbow nation Sunday and flew back home Friday.

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The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act stipulates that all disposal proceedings shall be conducted in a manner which promotes transparency, accountability and fairness.

 “A procuring and disposing entity shall, in all disposal proceedings, choose appropriate procedures and cause the disposal of assets to be carried out diligently and efficiently, so that the prices received by the procuring entity represent the best value or net outcome that can reasonably be obtained for the assets disposed of.

“Procuring and disposing of entities shall plan disposal activities with a view to achieving maximum value from any such disposals and other objectives set forth in this Act,” reads part of the act.

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The three houses at Sunninghill, Woodmead and Byaston – all in affluent residential suburb of Johannesburg, SA – were bought with the intention of accommodating referral patients from home.

However, Ministry of Health Spokesperson Joshua Malango dispelled the reports that the delegation is on a mission to sell the house but rather conduct assessment on the houses which have been idle for years.

“It is not necessarily that those people who have gone to South Africa are going to sell the houses, the team is going to see or let me say to inspect the conditions of the houses. Ministry of Health, in the previous, used to refer patients to South Africa before we started referring them to India.

“So, that time, government bought houses where patients and guardians would stay in. Since that time, for years now, they are not in use but they are still being maintained. We have ground labourers and now government wants to assess because the bills are just accumulating,” he said.

Malango then said, upon assessment, the delegation will come up with a report of recommendations of what needs to be done.

“From there, they will give us a report on the findings and how best they can be used. It’s not that we are selling, maybe those people who have tipped you think that selling will be an option but we are not selling now.

“If government intends to sell the houses, the ministry and or the OPC will make it public but, right now, we are simply making an assessment of how best they can be used. After the report, that is when we can make a determination on what to do,” he said.

Contrary to what Malango claimed, our source said the houses are in use except for one which was vandalised.

“There three are stand-alone houses in suburbs each with four bedrooms except for one which has five bedrooms. The intended purpose was to accommodate referral patients from VVIPs to civilians. Despite that one was vandalised, they are in use with limited resources,” said the source.

Former president Joyce Banda (JB) came under fire when she disposed of the country’s private jet purchased by the administration of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

In 2009, Mutharika administration bought a 14-seater Dassault Falcon 900EX presidential jet at about K16.5 billion but JB administration sold it at a reported K11 billion, apparently to use the money for “pressing needs”.

However, government had previously given conflicting explanations on the sale of the jet, including how the State had used the proceeds of the jet—prompting some donors such as the United Kingdom, opposition parties and civil society organisations to demand an investigation into the sale.

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