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Ministry yet to consider the Mpilo Hotel move

Ntsoaki Motaung

The explosive decision by the Ministry of Small Business Development and Cooperatives to move house from the Fairways Plaza as well as the LNDC block is yet to be operationalised subject to the new administration of the ministry, Newsday has learnt.

According to the ministry’s Public Relations Officer Nyakallo Ntšinyi, the new ministry administration headed by Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane was still considering the decision by the former administration led by then Minister Keketso Sello hence it is not yet conclusive that the ministry will move to the Mpilo Boutique Hotel as they have signed a contract to move to the Hotel in November 2020.

This follows revelations made this week that the ministry would be moving from their former abode to the luxurious Mpilo Boutique Hotel a move which caused a stir by the public who view it wasteful.

Now Ntšinyi says that the process has had to be momentarily halted as ‘Maseribane and his principal deliberate into the matter, adding that one of the reasons for the move was scarcity of office spacing to accommodate all the members of the ministry’s staff compliment.

“At the Fairways Plaza we only had heads of departments, so monitoring of junior officers’ work was quiet challenging because when one needed to signing of some documents they to move from LNDC to the Fairways Plaza, hence there was a need to house all the ministry’s staff at a single location,” she said.

Nts’inyi indicated that she is not supposed to talk about monies from the ministry because it is a sensitive matter and therefore she will leave issues around the rent to be answered by the PS.

Meanwhile, contacted for a comment, the former Principal Secretary of the Ministry of communications Science and Technology, who at the time of the initiation of the move was PS at the Small Business development and Cooperatives Tankiso Phapano said he was not at liberty to discuss other ministries’ business.

This follows the announcement by Mpilo Boutique Hotel that, it is closing doors from business permanently this time, Newsday Newspaper found that the Ministry of Small and Cooperatives will be moving to the Hotel premises.

On the other hand, substantive PS Bereng Makotoko confirmed that the ministry will move to Mpilo Boutique Hotel premises.

“I have learned that those who came before me, made arrangements that the ministry will be using the whole premises of the Hotel,” he said.

“There are some reasons why the ministry is moving from Fairways Plaza to Mpilo Boutique Hotel. Since I have only just entered office, I have had to make consultations to learn other things, so I am not be fully aware of the situation, but with the consultations that I have done so far, I have learned that the ministry has to move because at the Fairways Plaza not all the staff of the ministry would fit,” he said.

Makotoko indicated that, the second reason for moving is that, during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, Fairways Plaza was not very idea since it has no ventilation.

“At that building there is no office with a window to allow air circulation and there are only two toilets to be used by all the staff there,” he said.

The PS stated that they are leaving from Fairways Plaza while the ministry lease has not yet expired and will expire in August 2021.

“We will have to engage with the owner of the building and agree on what can be done because we are leaving before our lease can expire. In the same light, we have to negotiate with the owners of Mpilo Boutique Hotel because there are things that need to be ironed-out, I will not go into the details on what we need to discuss before putting the issues before the owners of the premises,” he said.

Makotoko could not state the amount of money the ministry paid to the previous building but promised to and consult and verify with documents how much the ministry paid. “When it comes to how much the ministry will be paying at the hotel, also I will need to go back and consult but the rent issue makes part of the issues I am saying we will need to talk about with the hotel owners,” he said.

The PS indicated that their rent only for the offices that were at Fairways Plaza was about M720,OOO excluding other expenses but when other expenses are included they paid about 1 million in a month while in 12 months was close to 10 million.

At that rate, the move would be value-for-money since it is said that the Mpilo deal as signed for by the previous PS on behalf of the ministry signed a seven-year agreement at the rate of M724 000 rental monthly. ffffffffffffff

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