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Madonsela to probe Maharaj’s stay at ministerial estate

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The public protector will investigate former presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj’s stay at a luxury ministerial housing estate in Pretoria.

This was after the Democratic Alliance wrote to Thuli Madonsela asking her office to probe the alleged waste of public funds.

“According to the ministerial handbook, state-owned housing is reserved for ministers, deputy ministers, premiers, members of the executive council, presiding officers/deputy presiding officers in Parliament or in a provincial legislature,” DA MP Phumzile Van Damme said in a statement.

“Nowhere in the handbook does it state that accommodation should be provided for the presidential spokesperson and it appears that Mr Maharaj was given special privileges which could amount to a flagrant abuse of public resources.”

The DA wrote to Madonsela last week.

The Office of the Public Protector confirmed on Wednesday the matter would be investigated.

Earlier this month, the Sunday Times reported that Maharaj had stayed at the Bryntirion Estate during the five years he served as spokesperson for President Jacob Zuma.

Mzwandile Sazona, a national co-ordinator of the public works department’s prestige unit, which allocates presidential and ministerial houses, told the newspaper Maharaj needed to be close to Zuma because of the nature of his work.

However, Sazona said Maharaj was not allocated a ministerial home but that the department gave him a state-owned house early in January 2010 after he was appointed a special envoy to the president in 2009 and later as presidential spokesperson in 2011. News24

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