Ramkraal: R120m spent on 'nothing'

2017-09-08 16:11

Bloemfontein - Despite sod not having been turned, almost R120m has already been spent on a new building to house the Free State Legislature at the Ramkraal prison. Ramkraal is a heritage building.

As a result of negligence, the prison meanwhile has been looted by vandals to such an extent that there is almost nothing to preserve, Netwerk24 reported.

Opposition members on Thursday didn't hold back in asking questions about what the money spent on the new building to date, had been used for, as no work had been done.

It appears that the Free State provincial government couldn't account for more than R100m of the R120m.

The Ramkraal jail in Bloemfontein before it was vandalised. (Supplied)

According to reports submitted, it had cost just R7.2m to tear down parts of the old prison.

The DA's Roy Jankielsohn said he's been trying since 2010 to have the Ramkraal issue investigated by the legislature's public accounts committee.  

Thursday's meeting was a joint session of the department of public works and public accounts, as well as the infrastructure committee.

Jankielsohn said as far as he knew, money spent on looking at alternative sites hadn't been included in the R120m.

He said Ramkraal was declared a heritage building.

"Approval was given to just tear down part of it. The rest of the building had to be renovated as part of the legislature's new building.

"Vandals have plundered it to such an extent that there is little left of the heritage show-piece."

Free State Finance MEC, Elzabé Rockman, said the exact expenditure still has to be determined.

"It is not more than R120m.

"Of the R120m, R3m has to be deducted for renovations at the Vierde Raadzaal building. Another few million has to be deducted for contractors who worked on other buildings as well," Rockman said.

She said the total Ramkraal expenditure could be between R117m and R120m.

The DA chief whip in the Free State Legislature David van Vuuren said the R7.2m for demolishing a part of the Ramkraal prison was included in the R120m.

Another R20m could be for drawing up plans for the new building.

He wanted to know what the other money had been spent on.

"This is prime example of how money laundering is done."

He said the DA was concerned that the Ramkraal building hadn't been treated with the respect it deserved.

"We feel criminal charges should be laid."

He said a new building for the legislature would cost about R900m.

"The national Treasury has informed us that it can't finance the building and the Free State provincial government also doesn't have the money."

Wouter Wessels of the Freedom Front Plus said when vagrants stayed in the Ramkraal prison, it was better looked after than when the Free State department of public works took over.

Read more on:    da  |  ff plus  |  bloemfontein  |  service delivery

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