Katleho Morapela
2 minute read
24 Apr 2019
6:15 am

Winnie’s Brandfort house project back on track

Katleho Morapela

The house, earmarked to be a museum, was where Madikizela-Mandela lived when she was banished by the apartheid regime.

The dilapidated house in which Winnie Madikizela-Mandela lived in Brandfort, Free State while under a banning order. Picture: Earl Coetzee

More than a year after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s death, her Brandfort house will once again come under the spotlight as Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa today formally introduces a new contractor to carry out the renovations to the home.

The house, earmarked to be a museum, was where Madikizela-Mandela lived when she was banished by the apartheid regime.

The ANC in the Free State had announced that refurbishments would be complete by the end of 2019, but there are questions as to whether it will reach completion by end of the year. It was initially scheduled for completion in 2015.

The initial announcement that the house would become a museum was made in 2005.

Questions remain about what happened to funds earmarked for the project.

The then Free State ANC interim coordinator, William Bulwane, who is now the deputy chair, has refuted allegations that funds earmarked for the project were embezzled.

He said R3 million was initially allocated for the project and R204,000 was spent on the designs, with R2.7 million redirected to renovate the Wesleyan Church, where the ANC was established, ahead of the centenary celebrations in 2012.

Bulwane said some of the money for the project was also used to build the Plaatjie family (who used to live in the house) another house and furnish it, after they were told they could no longer live in Madikizela-Mandela’s old house.

The ongoing delays in the project were also blamed by some people on the Independent Development Trust.

Mthethwa is today expected to outline how the R4 million now allocated for the project will be used and whether the completion date will still be the end of this year.

“The project plan, among other things, include the restoration of the dwelling house and clinic, and converting them to interpretative spaces; and the construction of a multipurpose centre with Wi-Fi facilities, as well as parking spaces,” said the department’s spokesperson, Asanda Magaqa.

Indications are that the department has entered into an agreement with Risimati Consulting Engineers to ensure that the project materialises.

The department has placed 24-hour security at the house and built a fence around it until such time as renovations can recommence.

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