Nothing unusual about Kings House renovations - Doidge

Pretoria - There is nothing unusual about renovations that are being made to Kings House in Durban, Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge said on Tuesday.

In fact, the renovations at Kings House, the official State house managed by the Department of Public Works, available for use by the President and Deputy President or any dignitary of befitting status when in Durban, are but one of similar maintenance projects taking place at various state buildings across the country, the minister said.

Minister Doidge was addressing reporters following weekend media reports that claimed the department was spending millions of Rands to upgrade the 106-year-old house in Morningside.

"For these newspapers to concentrate on Kings House and quote unnamed people as their sources on details of costs of the work being done at a presidential residence is highly disturbing," Minister Doidge said.

He said it was disturbing also that since the advent of the ANC-led government in 1994, certain sections of the media had singled out Presidential estates from the department's build programme made up of several construction projects, while there were other projects the department was working on.

The minister pointed out that Kings House was a heritage site that had to be renovated because of its history. The renovations, which cost a total of R46 million, have been in design stages over the last seven years.

"We have nothing to hide about what we do. We are not apologetic. We will do the renovations within the restrictions of the budget," said the minister.

In the 2009/10 budget, the department was allocated R5.2 billion to plan for, acquire, maintain, refurbish and dispose of state immovable assets, including presidential estates.

Other than renovations at Kings House, the department is busy with renovations totaling R700 million at the Waterkloof Air Base among other projects. - BuaNews