Former Free State premier, now ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is not embarrassed that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's house in Brandfort has not been turned into a museum, years after millions were allocated to restore it. He told eNCA on Sunday that government had done many things for the struggle icon that the media did not know about.
Magashule was visiting the home of Stompie Seipei's mother in the Free State. Seipei died as a 14-year-old and Madikizela-Mandela has for years battled to shake off claims that she was involved in his murder. She was never charged with his murder, nor was she a suspect.
Magashule was asked whether he was embarrassed that the provincial government has "failed to honour" Madikizela-Mandela.
"There are many things we have done for Mam' Winnie, ourselves as a province, you guys don't know anything. When we do certain things we don't want to be praised. There are many many things, birthdays and many other things... you guys don't know these things."
Magashule also said the media should not just ask whether the Free State provincial government had done anything for Madikizela-Mandela, but whether the national government had done so, too.
Former finance minister Trevor Manuel berated Magashule last week over the fact that the Brandfort home, where Madikizela-Mandela was banished by the apartheid government, had not been restored.
Business Day quoted him as saying, "This is the same [former] premier who protests the approvals for the Estina dairy [project] totalling some R220-million in two weeks," he said emphatically, raising two fingers in the air, to thunderous applause.
"This is the same former premier whose daughter is a beneficiary of a R130-million housing contract‚ but now informs us that this minuscule project to restore the house to which our mother was banished has taken 11 years and can't get done.
"He says, 'Well, everybody knows the money hasn't disappeared.' Where is the money that was budgeted for? And even the numbers he talks about for the restoration of that very basic house‚ for the R3-million he talks about‚ what does he want to do? Does he want to gold plate the window frames? Does he want to put in a jacuzzi? Does he also want to air condition the house? No‚ that must remain that place of pain," he reportedly said.
This weekend, Magashule again denied allegations that the Free State government had misspent the money allocated for the restoration of the house. According to IOL, he said an investigation will be launched into why the project has not happened.
Addressing reporters outside Madikizela-Mandela's Soweto home on Saturday, he reportedly said, "The Free State government has said an investigation can be launched where money was spent unnecessarily as some have alleged... I think the project was also done together with the national government. I can assure you no cent [meant for the Brandfort project] was spent by the Free State government... we have been budgeting and engaging the family... even before I came in [as ANC secretary general]."