Dance venue could cost taxpayers R1 billion after completion: report

An unfinished reed dance venue could cost taxpayers R1 billion upon completion.

According to a report by the Sunday Times, this would put the final cost of the venue at around eight times its original budget.

The only other option is to demolish the venue, with R129 million of taxpayers money already spent on the development, said the Department of Arts and Culture.

Originally requested by King Goodwill Zwelithini in 2013, the cultural village at Enyokeni Palace in northern KwaZulu-Natal hosts the annual reed dance in September, and Umkhosi Wokweshwama (first fruits ceremony) in early December.

Arts minister Nathi Mthethwa halted construction work in 2016 and appointed Gobodo Forensic Investigative Accounting to probe allegations of wrongdoing and overcharging.

The report found that prices had been inflated and consultants had charged up to 200% more than standard industry rates.

In addition:

  • One contractor received R11 million for items that had nothing to do with the reed dance precinct;
  • A consultant inflated a statutory fee by R3 million;
  • A construction monitoring fee was inflated by R450,000; and
  • An engineering fee was overstated by R5 million.

Read: Two senior officials were paid R2.6 million for not going to work for almost a year

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Dance venue could cost taxpayers R1 billion after completion: report