Chickens, goats roam Zulu village meant for maidens

18 February 2018 - 00:00 By BONGANI MTHETHWA

No one approved the R129-million cultural village being built at Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini's Enyokeni palace in Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Parliament's portfolio committee on arts and culture visited the site in September. In its report, the committee said construction had gone ahead without proper planning and additions had been made without approval. The Sunday Times has a copy of the report.
The report said the Department of Arts and Culture had not monitored money for the village, which is intended as accommodation for thousands of women who attend the annual reed dance ceremony revived by King Zwelithini in 1984.The report is scathing of the department's misspending. It recommended that the village's completion be done according to a sound financial plan.
The initial cost of the project in 2014 was R225-million. The committee found that the department committed R131-million even though this did not appear in its 2014-15 performance plan.
A report by Gobodo Forensic and Investigative Accounting, tabled in parliament in May, said the project could cost R1-billion.
The parliamentary report revealed that prices were inflated and consultants charged as much as 200% more than industry rates.The committee also found that there was a breakdown of relations between the department and the Independent Development Trust, which managed the project. This resulted in the contract with the IDT being cancelled for nonperformance.
"The IDT did not ensure that contractors charged the department market-related tariffs, resulting in R28.6-million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure," said the committee.
The committee found that there were no maintenance plans.
This was evident in leaks in the 2.5-megalitre water tank, cracks in walls and an ablution facility with no roof.
When a team visited the half-completed site, goats, chicken and cattle were seen roaming in the abandoned buildings.
The committee said the department should ensure that all the contracts it entered with other entities or departments were "watertight".
It should also put together a plan and financial breakdown of the roof and ablution facilities.
The Enyokeni cultural village was requested by King Zwelithini from the department in 2013 and was intended to mark the 30th anniversary of the reed dance ceremony.
The king's spokesman, Prince Thulani Zulu, said he could not comment on a report he had not seen.
uMkhosi woMhlanga is an annual Zulu ceremony attended by virgins alone to ensure that it remains ritually pure. During the ceremony, young women declare their virginity by presenting reeds before the king, who uses the occasion to give them advice on how to behave and remain pure until marriage.

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