Arts department resolving challenges in major projects

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pretoria – The Department of Arts and Culture says it is dealing with the infrastructure challenges confronting its National Legacy Projects, including the Winnie Mandela House and KwaZulu-Natal Enyokeni Cultural Precinct.

“Presently, the work on some of the 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 parties involved,” the department said in a statement.

The department will engage the office of the Auditor General to ensure that this recovery plan is completely aligned to the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury Regulations.

“The Department of Arts and Culture is committed to promoting, preserving and championing 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.”

Due to the infrastructure intensive nature of some of the projects, the department has 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.

“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 the 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 a new structure, refurbishment of the old bombed house, and turning it into an interpretative centre,” the department said.

According to the IDT, due to alleged poor performance, payment of the contractor was withheld.

“Subsequently, the DAC was later informed, on 8 November 2013, the construction company left the site for two months. It came back on site on 3 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,” the department said.

The department said during the 2011/12 period, it 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 and 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.

The department made the comments after it received queries from the media regarding the projects. –

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