An audit report commissioned by the department of arts and culture (DAC) has found that nearly R600,000 paid to two contractors on the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela museum project in Brandfort, Free State, amounted to "fruitless expenditure", News24 reported on Friday.
The report states that the DAC had commissioned a quantity surveying company to evaluate all infrastructure projects that had been handled by the Independent Development Trust (IDT), which include the museum commemorating the decade that the late struggle icon spent exiled to the tiny Free State town by the apartheid government.
The IDT says it cannot comment on the audit findings regarding the fruitless expenditure, as the report 'wasn't made public'
The quantity surveyor's report found fruitless expenditure of R593,622 "with regard to the Winnie Mandela House Project", according to the DAC's 2016-17 annual report.
Considering that the IDT had earlier stated that its total expenditure on the project amounted to R593,622, the implication of the audit commissioned by the DAC is that every single cent spent on the project so far has been fruitless.
The money was paid to DM-DMZ Construction and Property Development, the main building contractor, and to Arch-Live Architects, a Gauteng-based firm whose sole director told News24 that fruitless expenditure is "a political word used in government and in boardrooms".
DM-DMZ was placed in business rescue only three months after it started working on the project.
The IDT is, however, challenging the audit's findings, and says it cannot comment on the audit findings regarding the fruitless expenditure, as the report "wasn't made public".
The matter is currently subject to dispute resolution. "Upon finalisation of the dispute resolution process, the fruitless expenditure register will be updated accordingly," reads the DAC's annual report.
For more on where the money went, and how the mess is being cleaned up, read the full report on News24.