Another R28m allocated to project at king’s palace
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.
FORGING AHEAD: Work will resume on King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Cultural Precinct.