SIU must probe Winnie Mandela house scandal – Patrica Kopane

DA says DAC allocated R3m for restoration of Brandfort house on 18 July 2012

DA requests SIU Investigation into the Winnie Mandela house scandal

12 April 2018

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) requesting them to investigate the alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds on the project that was meant to convert Winnie Mandela’s Brandfort house into a museum.

This is after reports have revealed that the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) has allocated R3m on this project and on 18 July 2012, the department entered into a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (DSACR) and the Independent Development Trust (IDT) to facilitate the completion of Winnie Mandela’s house in Brandfort. Of the R1 858 195.71 that was approved for this project, a sum of R593 622.29 has already been accounted as having been paid to the contractor and the architect.

In November 2016 the DAC terminated the relationship with the IDT citing more than a year’s worth of unsatisfactory engagements, exchange of correspondence and failed attempts to develop and implement recovery plans.

Over the last decade, in excess of R11 million was budgeted at various times by the provincial and national departments of arts and culture of which at least R3 million was indicated to be expenses to date. This is according to feedback received from the Public Protector. Nothing can be shown for these expenses.

The DA wants the SIU to thoroughly investigate this; both the officials and politicians responsible for this fraud and misappropriation should account. This is an important project that holds tourism and job opportunities for the benefit of the Masilonyana community. It is shocking how the ANC government has failed to unlock this potential over the last 12 years, since the project was initially planned. Millions of rands were already budgeted on previous occasions for this project, without any result.

Former FS Premier, Ace Magashule, has repeatedly denied that funds allocated for this project were misappropriated; now this report contradicts his statements.

The DA will continue to fight for the completion of this project without corruption and that it becomes not only a dormant museum, but a living centre for community upliftment in the way which Brandfort remembers Mama Winnie for.

Issued by Patricia KopaneDA Free State Provincial Leader, 12 April 2018