Johannesburg – Plans to turn struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s Brandfort house into a museum have been scuppered by rising costs and there is no indication as to when they will resume, the department of arts and culture revealed on Thursday.
The ailing anti-apartheid struggle icon died in hospital on 2 April 2018. She was 81.
In the same month, the department entered into a level service agreement with Risimati Consulting Engineers as the implementing agent to turn the house Madikizela-Mandela was banished to by apartheid government in the 70s in Brandfort, Free State, into a museum to preserve her memory.
This was after R3 million allocated to the Free State Independent Development Trust (IDT) for the project in 2012 "disappeared". The investigation into the missing money has stalled.
Spokesperson for the department, Asanda Magaqa, told African News Agency (ANA) that two adjudicated tenders bids for the projects were found to be non-responsive on both functionality and price as they quoted the department well over R2.5 million.
Magaqa said the tender to appoint the contractor was advertised in August last year, and was followed by a compulsory site briefing from the four prospective tenderers who had collected the documents.
She said only two tenderers returned their priced documents and were adjudicated, but both companies did not meet the quality and functionality criteria.
"The tender price of both companies were much higher than the approved budget. The first company tendered for R2 529 806.07, which is a 46.50 percent deviation from the approved budget. The second company tendered for R2 964 420.64, which is a 54.35 percent deviation from the approved budget," Magaqa said.
"National Treasury approval for an increased budget has been sought based on the response of the market and the implementing agent has been instructed to re-advertise the tender in order to reach a wider pool of prospective qualified bidders and appointment by end of February."
Risimati developed a detailed project implementation plan and a revised design, focusing on the restoration of the house and bombed clinic. These were to be converted into interpretative spaces. A multi-purpose centre with an internet hub and wi-fi facilities was also part of the plan.
Magaqa said as things stand, National Treasury has requested that before the department can approve the project variation order, it must furnish them with the tender advert and bid adjudication committee report for the sub-contractors, bills of quantity for the implementing agent.
"This was done and we await their response," Magaqa said.
Africa News Agency/ANA