An­other R28m al­lo­cated to pro­ject at king’s palace

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

THE DEPART­MENT of Arts and Cul­ture is push­ing ahead with the con­struc­tion of Zulu King Good­will Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Cul­tural Precinct.

The pro­ject stalled last year when a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the pro­ject, at one of the king’s palaces, was in­sti­tuted.

The de­ci­sion to forge ahead emerged when Arts and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa re­sponded to par­lia­men­tary ques­tions from the DA’s Gre­gory Groot­boom, who ques­tioned the fur­ther al­lo­ca­tion of R28.1 mil­lion to the pro­ject in the 2017-18 fi­nan­cial year.

The pro­ject stalled af­ter red flags were raised over the lack of for­mal ap­proval for fund­ing that was not bud­geted for, among other things.

Mthethwa said the pro­ject had been re­sumed af­ter ser­vice provider Ru­bi­quant Quan­tity Sur­vey­ors was hired to de­ter­mine if the depart­ment was re­ceiv­ing value for money.

“The com­ple­tion of the multi-pur­pose am­phithe­atre fa­cil­ity, to­gether with other struc­tures that are in­com­plete, mo­ti­vated the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Enyokeni pro­ject, which if not fi­nalised could lead to fur­ther waste­ful and fruit­less ex­pen­di­ture, and could be­come a white ele­phant,” Mthethwa said.

He added that the pro­ject was con­tin­ued due to its cul­tural and her­itage value, which had the po­ten­tial to cre­ate jobs, sus­tain­able cul­tural tourism and ru­ral in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment, and foster so­cio-eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

Mthethwa said the R28.1m bud­geted for the pro­ject was the cost es­ti­mate for the com­ple­tion of the am­phithe­atre fa­cil­ity.

The fi­nal re­port by Ru­bi­quant Quan­tity Sur­vey­ors in­di­cated that the depart­ment had not re­ceived value for money in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­ject, and other de­part­men­tal in­fra­struc­ture projects, Mthethwa said.

“The depart­ment has been over­charged for a range of pro­fes­sional ser­vices, as well as for the ma­te­ri­als used on the Enyokeni Cul­tural Precinct,” he said.

He added that three for­mer depart­ment of­fi­cials who were in­volved in the pro­ject had been charged with im­pro­pri­ety.

“Crim­i­nal charges were laid against the erst­while di­rec­tor-gen­eral and the for­mer act­ing di­rec­tor-gen­eral.”

He added that dis­ci­plinary charges against the se­nior man­ager had been trans­ferred to his cur­rent em­ployer, the Gaut­eng Hu­man Set­tle­ments Depart­ment.

“The crim­i­nal charges against the erst­while di­rec­tor-gen­eral and for­mer act­ing di­rec­tor-gen­eral were reg­is­tered with the Hawks in April last year.

“The depart­ment reg­is­tered a num­ber of crim­i­nal charges which in­clude Enyokeni, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tions are in progress.

“The depart­ment has been mak­ing fol­low-up on progress and con­tin­ues to do so,” he said.

PIC­TURE: MOTSHWARI MOFOKENG

FORGING AHEAD: Work will re­sume on King Good­will Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Cul­tural Precinct.

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