Still no answers for missing R300m after failed cultural precinct

There is still no end in sight to what happened to the millions of rands spent in what is known as the Enyokeni Cultural Precinct announced 10 years ago by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.

The ambitious project, which carried a hefty price tag of over R300-million for its construction, was expected to turn the late AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu’s palace of eNyokeni in Nongoma into a much sought-after tourist destination.

However, it was not long after the department released R129-million to commence with the first phase of the work that it turned into a feasting frenzy for cronies.

In 2016 following the looting and public outcry, then arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa halted the project and instituted a forensic investigation.

Gobodo Forensic and Investigation, the auditing firm appointed to conduct the probe, found that consultants had hunted in packs milking the project.

The investigation also revealed that prices were inflated such that consultants charged up to 200%, going overboard when compared with industry standard rates.

“Critical issues such as land ownership considerations, budget arrangements, as well as the necessary contractual arrangements, to name but a few were never considered or provided for,” reads the forensic report in part.

“No evidence was found of any feasibility study being undertaken with regard to supporting the adoption of cultural precinct projects.”

The IFP in KwaZulu-Natal is now leading the charge seeking answers.

In an exclusive interview with Sunday World, IFP member of the provincial legislature Mntomuhle Khawula said: “There was a lot of money spent on the project. Even the late king complained about his name being used to loot the money.

“I’ve already asked questions to the MEC for arts and culture in the province. We will conduct a further probe to find out whether the monies for phase one of the project were recovered and culprits held accountable.

In May, KwaZulu-Natal acting head of public works Siboniso Majola led a delegation to hand over another contractor tasked with project completion. It also emerged that about R149-million more has been committed.

The eNyokeni Palace holds the annual Reed Dance ceremony and what is known as umkhosi wokweshwama (first fruits festival). It is also considered as the heart of the AmaZulu royal house.


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