Members of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have expressed concern over Parliament spending for its members.
Parliament reportedly spends millions of pula on rentals for Members of Parliament (MPs), which at times include renovations for the said houses.
The issue arose after the Clerk of National Assembly, Barbara Dithapo told PAC on Wednesday that the House had spent over P1.5 million to renovate six houses that had been rented out for some members.
The Committee also learnt that Parliament had spent over P2 million on rentals for vacant houses for MPs.
“The owners of the houses did not accept their houses back because they were complaining that such facilities were in a state of disrepair. It took us three years to repair those houses and the damage was bad. Some of the damage happened because we took long to renovate the houses because of lack of funds,” Dithapo explained.
“The maintenance money that we had could not cover all the cost as per quotations sought from different companies. I do not remember rental amount for each house.”
However, MP for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi said legislators should be held accountable for any damages to their rented houses as that would cut costs on Parliament spending. “Maybe Parliament should make an MP to sign a form that binds him or her to deal with issues of maintenance if the house becomes dilapidated. Parliament cannot cover all the cost if
Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi said the other reason Parliament often delay to renovate its houses especially after general elections was due to some MPs requesting to be given time before vacating the said property.
“This is simply because others have children who are still schooling and they need time to look for accommodation for their children. These also contribute a lot to delay in renovating Parliamentary houses. I also think it’s time for MPs to be given allowance for housing so that some of these issues are resolved. If one damages someone’s house then it would not be Parliament’s responsibility in instance where MPs receive allowances,” Mmolotsi said.
Responding to members, Dithapo said it was not good for MPs to be staying in one area as it also compromises their security therefore the idea of housing allowance could help them. On other pertinent issues, the committee was shocked to learn that most of the workers at Parliament were employed on temporary basis. This is because there are no vacancies, but Parliament has work to be done. “The posts are created by Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) and there is nothing Parliament could do. We employ people as and when posts are being created,” she said.