Plug pulled on Zwelithini’s R300m project

2014-11-16 12:47
King Goodwill Zwelithini (Siyabonga Masonkutu, The Witness)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (Siyabonga Masonkutu, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has pulled the plug on construction of a R300m cultural precinct near Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Palace in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

According to the Sunday Independent, Mthethwa has also ordered a forensic investigation into the entire project and into the department.

This comes after he suspended Arts and Culture director-general Sibusile Xaba last month following the outcomes of auditor general Kimi Makwetu’s audit report into the department, which showed increased irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the year since Xaba was appointed.

News24 reported in May that the first phase of the construction of the cultural village at Nongoma was expected to take up to 18 months to complete.

Department spokesperson Mogomotsi Mogodiri said at the time: “It should be noted that the development and infrastructure is not only for the king, but the Zulu nation as a whole.”

The development was expected to involve upgrading the existing pavilion and paved walkways, as well as sleeping areas and ablution facilities for the 30 000 Zulu maidens who attend the reed dance each year.

This is in addition to the planned building of Zwelithini’s eighth palace - at Emakhosini Valley in northern KwaZulu-Natal - that will boast nine thatched “beehive huts” arranged in a circle with a central cattle enclosure.

Royal residence

As reported by News24, Zwelithini wishes to re-establish a royal residence at Emakhosini Valley - where Zulu nation founder King Shaka was born and the ancestral home to his grandfather King Jama.
Apart from the thatched “beehive huts”, the palace will have a prayer unit, two guard houses, two ablution blocks, covered parking bays and garage, guest accommodation facility, fenced grazing site for royal cattle, among others.

One or more small dams may be built on the stream below the palace.

It added that electricity would be initially supplied by solar power with a generator back-up. At a later stage, an Eskom connection may be considered, but at this stage, the existing Eskom network does not allow for cost-effective connection to the proposed residence.

Water will come from a borehole and sewage will be processed by a “package plant”.

President Jacob Zuma's architect, Minenhle Makhanya's , has also landed the deal to design the palace.

Makhanya's fees for the KwaNobamba palace near Ulundi are not known.

Zwelithini receives R63m a year from the provincial treasury.

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