ANC Free State hits back at Trevor Manuel over Mam’ Winnie’s Brandfort house

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Majwemasweu Township residents help to clean the dilapidated house of late struggle icon Winnie Mandela's home at Phatakahle Section at Brandfort in Free State, 4 April 2018. In July 2012, it was reported that the Free State government, led by Premier Ace Magashule set aside R3-million for the project. Another R2.5-million tender reportedly went out in early 2013. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The party says it is reckless for Manuel to turn a memorial service into a political battle against Magashule.

No money was misappropriated from a project to turn the Brandfort house Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was banished to by the apartheid regime into a museum, the African National Congress (ANC) in the Free State insisted on Monday.At a media briefing, ANC provincial secretary William Bulwane said of the R3 million budgeted for the project, more than R200 000 was spent on the design for the museum, while about R2.7 million was redirected to revamp the Wesleyan church, the birthplace of the ANC, for the party’s centenary celebrations in 2012.

Bulwane lashed out at former Cabinet minister Trevor Manuel, who during a memorial service held for Mam’ Winnie in Cape Town last week, challenged former Free State premier, now ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, to tell people where the money budgeted for the project went.

“It is unfortunate and reckless for Trevor Manuel to turn the memorial service into a political battle and accuse the ANC secretary-general for corruption without evidence. It is deliberate and divisive and undermines the spirit of unity and renewal,” said Bulwane.

Bulwane went as far as asking the ANC to discipline Manuel.

During the memorial service at the St. George’s Cathedral last Thursday, Manuel questioned why it took 11 years to restore the Brandfort house while Magashule had quickly provided approval for a dairy project in the Free State, from which it is alleged the Gupta family siphoned off millions of rand.

“He now informed us this minuscule project to restore the house to which our mother was banished has taken 11 years. Where is the money that was budgeted?” Manuel asked at the time.

“We must be able to take our children and our public servants there and remind them of the words of Madiba at his inauguration that ‘never, never and never again’. We must call it out for what it is, and we must say no to it, and we must assert that that house in Brandfort be a memory to the pain and suffering of Mam’ Winnie.”

Bulwane said people should be focusing on mourning Madikizela-Mandela and not slinging mud.

He added the national department of arts and culture had taken over the project.

“By next year, in terms of the department of arts and culture, nationally by March next year that project would be completed, they are finalising,” said Bulwane.

– African News Agency (ANA)