By Leona Kleynhans, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The below member statement was delivered by Leona Kleynhans (MPL) during a sitting of the Free State Provincial Legislature on Thursday 30 July 2015.
I recently conducted at oversight visit at the proposed new Legislature Precinct to be built at the former Ramkraal Prison.
The entire Ramkraal property is in disrepair. Buildings stand roofless, evidence abound of the theft of electrical wiring and sandstone slabs. Nature has begun reclaiming this neglected site as trees are growing inside roofless buildings damaging the foundations.
More shocking is that according to a written reply from the MEC for Public Works more than R26 million has been spent on the first phase of this project which includes demolition of some building and securing the site with a perimeter fence. As we speak I can assure this house that the site is not secure, there is no perimeter fence.
In addition, we need to know exactly which building were approved for demolition since the South African Heritage Council has declared that the original Ramkraal buildings are of cultural and architectural importance and that these must be protected and renovated in line with the applicable legislation.
The current state of the Ramkraal site bears evidence of neglect, vandalism and theft. Exactly the opposite state of affairs that is expected of our collective heritage sites.
It is evident that almost R30 million has been spent of a project that never happened. If we could go to Ramkraal right now one would be hard-pressed to find evidence of such a massive investment.
This is clearly another example of how the Free State Provincial Government mismanage funds and projects at the expense of our people.