Statement by the Department of Arts and Culture on National Legacy Projects
The Department of Arts and Culture is committed in its mandate to promote, preserve and champion the development of the arts, culture and heritage sector with the view to locate the sector at the heart of the socio-economic transformation agenda. The Department of Arts and Culture, immediately after the new democratic dispensation initiated a number of National Legacy Projects with the aim of redressing and transforming the heritage landscape of this country to ensure that it truly represents the diversity of our society. Policies and legislations were also put in place to provide enabling frameworks for the preservation, protection and promotion of our cultural heritage.
The Department has noted a number of queries in the recent days coming from various media regarding infrastructure challenges on some of the projects such as Winnie Mandela House, Enyokeni Precinct. Currently, the department is implementing plans to rectify these challenges and expedite the finalisation of any outstanding matters.
Due to the infrastructure intensive nature of some of the project, the Department of Arts and Culture 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. The DAC implemented this approach from the 2011/12 financial year.
In relation to the Winnie Mandela House Project, the Free State provincial Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSACR) requested the Department for assistance with completion of a number of incomplete heritage sites in the province including the Winnie Mandela house in Brandfort. Subsequently, the Department entered into a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the DSACR and Independent Development Trust (IDT) in July 2012. IDT was contracted to implement plans for the renovation of the Winnie Mandela house, building of a new structure, refurbishment of the old bombed house, and turning it into an interpretative centre. According to the IDT, due to alleged poor performance,payment of the contractor was withheld. Subsequently, the DAC was later informed, on 08 November 2013, the construction company left the site for two months. It cane back on site on 03 July 2014, as reported, to the DAC, by the IDT. In August 2014, the contractor issued a letter of suspension of works with a possible termination of contract and by September 2014 the contract was terminated due to contractual disagreements.
During 2011/12 period, the Department had entered into other contracts with the IDT to facilitate the construction of the following projects: Ingquza Hill Museum, OR Tambo Garden of Remembrance, JL Dube site, exhibition at Waaihoek, the refurbishment of Dr Moroka House. There have been several contractual disagreements regarding these projects but they are currently being resolved. This is being done in line with the PFMA to ensure public funds are properly accounted for.
Presently, the work on some of these projects had to be halted, pending the resolution of construction-related disagreements. The recovery plan, to complete these projects, is being consulted upon by the several parties involved. Furthermore, the Department of Arts and Culture will engage the office of the AG to ensure that this recovery plan is completely aligned to the PFMA and Treasury Regulations.
Issued by the department of Arts & Culture