The process of turning Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s Brandfort house into a museum will be completed by November 4, according to Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Declared a heritage site in 2005, it remains dilapidated, with a fence and on-site security being the only recent signs of development.
It has drawn much controversy over the years, with community members alleging it was a hub of criminal activity and many accusing former premier and now ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule of embezzling funds earmarked for it.
However, the project is due to kick off on May 2.
Mthethwa has refuted allegations that funds for this project were looted and that his department is only paying attention to the project now because of the May 8 elections.
He said: “[This] is not an isolated matter, it’s part of the government programme to honour all struggle stalwarts, as we have been doing for the past months with the unveiling of the Solomon Mahlangu, Chris Hani, and OR Tambo’s monuments.”
Mthethwa announced there were processes in place to recuperate the funds allocated to this project and hold those who failed to execute the task to book.
OFM News previously reported that former Free State ANC interim coordinator William Bulwane, who is now the deputy chair, admitted R3 million was allocated to the project; R204,000 was spent on designs, with R2.7 million redirected to renovate the Wesleyan Church – where the ANC was established – ahead of the party’s centenary celebrations in 2012.
Mthethwa explained the project plan, among others, included the restoration of the house and bombed clinic, and converting them to interpretative spaces, plus the construction of a multipurpose centre.
There are safeguards in place to ensure the project is completed.
– OFM News