Revolving Restaurant: Another white elephant in Bloemfontein?

The revolving restaurant in the Fidel Castro Building in Bloemfontein remains vacant and is gathering dust nearly four years after renovations on the building were completed.

According to the Free State Department of Public Works, bids are currently being evaluated by the supply chain division for a suitable service provider to run the restaurant.

Department spokesperson, Mlungisi Maqubela, estimates this process would take between two and three weeks, starting now.

In 2014, OFM News reported the restaurant which closed its doors in the ’90s had been renovated over an eight-month period at a cost of R4,6 million. In the years that followed, a tender for a service provider was advertised numerous times, to no avail – similar to the circumstances at The Edge restaurant on Naval Hill which was also opened in 2014.

Maqubela says the provincial government felt the restaurant needs not only to generate revenue but must also empower the youth. In light of this, while Sam Mashinini was the MEC of Public Works, a programme was created to fulfil these requirements. He says Mashinini has previously provided an extensive explanation of how young entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry were recruited for the competition. The aim was to have successful entrants run the restaurant as a joint venture, assisted by the government.

Maqubela did not elaborate on what the outcome of this project was nor did he tell OFM News if the entrants of this competition were now a part of the latest round of bidders to run the restaurant.