Arts and Culture Ministry Statement on the “Winnie Madikizela-Mandela House Project” (Brandfort Museum)

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11 Apr 2018

The Ministry of Arts and Culture has been following media reports on the home once occupied by struggle stalwart, the “Mother of the Nation” and former Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture (DAC) Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The Ministry wishes to advise members of the press that the restoration of the house once occupied by Madikizela-Mandela and the preservation thereof is a project that has been consistently receiving due attention and priority by DAC, including personal engagements with Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in the months before her passing and ongoing discussions with the family and the Winnie Mandela Foundation.

The Ministry wishes to place it on record that it became involved in the project to preserve the legacy of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the “Winnie Madikizela-Mandela House Project” in 2012.

As matters stand, the DAC is working with a new implementing agent on the project who entered into a Service-Level Agreement (SLA) with DAC on 13 March 2018. Risimati Consulting Engineers is contracted by DAC to undertake the following work where the “Winnie Madikizela-Mandela House” project is concerned:

  • Restoration of the dwelling house and bombed clinic; and converting them to interpretative spaces;
  • A multi-purpose centre with Wi-Fi facilities and parking space.

The last consultation meeting between DAC and Risimati took place on the afternoon of Friday, 7 April 2018.

The appointment of the new consulting engineers (i.e. Risimati) was necessitated by the outcome of a process of “consequence management” in the form of an internal investigation which sought to understand what had transpired in the realisation of the project since it became involved in 2012 as well as fact-finding with the aim of following up on expenditure of its funds allocated to the project and if necessary- ensure that there are consequences if money spent on the project is not fully accounted for.

As a result of this “consequence management”, DAC undertook a new service provider appointment process that culminated in the appointment of Risimati to continue with this work and complete it.

DAC considered this to be the best form of action.

The brief sequence of events from 2012 that have preceded the appointment of Risimati are as follows:

  • DAC engaged the services of the Independent Development Trust (IDT)- an entity of the Department of Public Works (DPW), to implement its Arts and Culture infrastructure projects. This was based on the need to hasten delivery as DPW was and is faced with massive delivery demands from other Government departments. This approach of engaging IDC came into effect as of the 2011/12 financial year
  • The Free State Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSACR) requested the DAC for assistance with completion of a number of incomplete heritage sites in the province including the house in Brandfort
  • DAC allocated R3 000 000.00 for the project in 2012
  • The Department entered into a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the DSACR and IDT on 18 July 2012 to facilitate the completion of the sites including the construction of Winnie Mandela House site for an approved amount of R1 858 195.71
  • IDT was contracted to implement plans for the renovation of the house, building of a new structure, refurbishment of the old bombed house, and turning it into an interpretative centre
  • Site handover to the contractor was done on 11 November 2013
  • The project stalled as the contractor abandoned the site citing “disputes” with IDT
  • Subsequent to the stalling of the project, DAC appointed an Independent Quantity Surveyor, to look into how IDT managed all the DAC projects (the Winnie Mandela House being one)
  • Of the R1 858 195.71 paid to IDT, the amount of R593 622.29 has been accounted for as having been paid to the contractor and architect.
  • Following more than a year’s worth of unsatisfactory engagement, exchange of correspondence and failed attempts to develop and implement numerous recovery plans, the DAC terminated the relationship with IDT (i.e. the termination of MOA between DAC and IDT) in November 2016
  • The internal report findings, amongst others, indicated that the DAC did not receive value for money

It was on the strength of this finding that DAC initiated a process to appoint new principal agents to continue with the work. In the interim, DAC continues with the immediate step it undertook post-termination of the MOA, with the Free State DSACR to immediately secure the site. As a result, the site continues to be under 24-hour surveillance in order to ensure that this prized historical site and important legacy project is under guard and safe from vandalism or being caused to deteriorate until the new contractors are on site.

Once more, we wish to reiterate that DAC has journeyed with the “Mother of the Nation” until early this year on this project, and was looking forward to getting her input on the plans that were presented by Risimati at the meeting that was scheduled four days after she passed away.

In spite of this, the DAC is forging ahead with plans to ensure that this project is finalised in order that South Africans be able to benefit for many generations from the preserving of her legacy and specifically the historically significant ‘House Number 802’ in Brandfort where Madikizela-Mandela was banished on Monday 16 May 1977.

For further information, please contact: Asanda Magaqa, Spokesperson for the Minister of Arts and Culture – 082 572 3232.