Winnie house: Opposition not impressed

House number 802 where Winnie MadikizelaMandela was placed under house arrest by the Apartheid government. Photo: Earl Coetzee

Although elaborate plans to turn the house of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Brandfort into a museum, were announced by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, recently, members of the opposition in the Mangaung Metro are far from impressed.

The project, to which almost R4 million was allocated, is set to be completed at the end of the year, despite controversy over an allocation of funds for a restoration of the building in 2015, which never happened.

According to Funiwe Phetlho of the Congress of the People information on what had happened to the first project should come to light. “It is good but we must go back and find out what had happened to the first allocation. The money does not belong to any political party but comes from the people’s taxes. If there can be accountability, then people will be satisfied, because we all believe the Winnie was an icon and deserves a museum in her name,” said Phetlho.

Bosanku Msimanga of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) agreed that there has to be accountability in relation to the initial funds for the project. “It would have been nice if a museum in Mama Winnie’s honour was built while she was alive,” he said. “The people who were responsible for that money were never brought to book, so we are not sure what will happen to the money this time around and if it will be spent accordingly,” explained Msimanga.

According to Tammy Wessels of Freedom Front Plus (FF+) heritage councils should be established to deal with monuments. “We need to get back to heritage councils where every group of people, however they want to classify themselves whether by culture, religion or language, can decide on their own. Where they see a need and want to restore Winnie’s house and want to better it because they have an interest in it, a community like that will ensure that the money will not be wasted,” said Wessels.

Courant requested clarification on the allocation of funds for the new project from the department but did not get a reply by the time of going to print. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele