Another failed multimillion rand project in Free State under spotlight

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Old Ramkraal Prison
Investigations into the Free State’s Old Ramkraal Prison in Bloemfontein is set to come under the spotlight tomorrow (Thursday) in the Provincial Legislature.

This, as the Office of the Auditor-General (AG) is expected to brief the joint Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts and Finance, including that of Public Works, Infrastructure, Roads, Transport and Human Settlements, about this historic site. The site was allocated R120 million eight years ago for refurbishments by the provincial government to house the Free State Legislature, but to date, the project stands dilapidated with millions unaccounted for. The heritage site has drawn much controversy and made headlines with opposition parties in the Legislature demanding answers as to where the R120 million allegedly spent on the site, was applied.

The AG’s Aletta van Tromp, presenting her office’s progress report into this project earlier in June, confirmed that procurement processes were not followed and that they were still trying to establish reasons as to why this historic site was chosen for the construction of a new Legislature Complex.

She also confirms that they had received documents from the Free State Heritage Council, stating their concerns over the use of this heritage site – and the poor state in which it has been left.

Van Tromp said the documents in their possession indicated an expenditure of close to R90 million, and that it remained worrisome that some stakeholders involved in this project were not cooperating and had not submitted all the required documents.

DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, has during the announcement of the Free State DA premier candidate held at this site, told OFM News the ANC Secretary-General and former Free State premier, Ace Magashule, together with other ANC leaders, should be ashamed of the millions syphoned out of the Free State to enrich the controversial Gupta family.

He said the millions unaccounted for on this project and for the other controversial Vrede Dairy project are an indication of how the province has become a cash cow for the few politically connected.

KATLEHO MORAPELA / OFM News