The department of Arts and Culture has stalled an R300 million project launched to refurbish King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Palace.
The Enyokeni Cultural Precinct project; which was approved by the department in 2014 had wanted to lavish the R300 million on the main tourist centre at Nongoma; construction of rooms for Reed maidens and the king’s main palace – which the department planned to upgrade into a state-of-the-art facility.
Speaking on why the multi-million project was stalled on Wednesday; Department of Art and Culture spokeswoman Lisa Combrinck said the department stalled the project indefinitely because it wanted to carry out a forensic investigation on it.
“The chief state law adviser recommended a forensic investigation into irregular expenditure and the development of the cultural precincts. There were planning; budgeting; and project management concerns regarding the Enyokeni project,” Combrinck said.
She also admitted that investigation into the project has been completed; and that the report has been distributed internally to relevant business units within the Department of Arts and Culture in February 2016.
However, she declined to the divulge the findings; but disclosed that the relevant authorities are yet to implement the findings and recommendations.
More so, BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that contractors handling the projects had already tarred an access road to the main entrance; renovated the stadium where Reed dance takes place; and also completed some fencing at the palace.
When completed, the facility at Enyokeni Palace would be “bigger than any building in Durban” and would accommodate more than 30 000 maidens, said Ingonyama Trust board chairman Judge Jerome Ngwenya.
IFP Condemns Interruption Of Enyokeni Palace Upgrades
Responding to the development, IFP national chairman Blessed Gwala slammed the minister of Arts and Culture for intercepting the Enyokeni Palace project.
According to Gwala, stopping a mega project like that in the middle of the road would be costly; because “By the time they finish applying their minds, costs would even have doubled.”
Over the weekend, more than 30 000 maidens marched down to Nongoma for the annual Reed dance; but they were left out in cold, some spent their night in vehicles, while most of them had no choice than to have their bath in a nearby river.
In a bid to hasten the refurbishment of the Enyokeni Cultural Precinct project; the DA called on the private sectors to lend a helping hand, as the government cannot pay for everything.