Liliesleaf to blame- says minister Mthethwa

This is the view of the department of sport, arts and culture (DSAC) following recent reports that the politically celebrated farm will shut doors due to financial issues.

Earlier this year, Nicholas Wolpe, founder and CEO of Liliesleaf Trust, made a passionate plea for donations and at the time, indicating it will shut down, as their overheads were piling up.

This week Liliesleaf was in the press again, asking for aid and took exception with other departments for not supporting the call.

The department did not take this lying and responded that they funded Liliesleaf with R70m over a period of 13 years’.

A further R 8,1m was transferred by the department to the Trust. No accountability came forth.

“For the 2020/2021 financial year, an additional R1,8 million was budgeted for the trust. All this is being done against an understanding of the historical significance and contribution of Liliesleaf to the liberation of our country,” said the press release from DSAC.

According to DASC on May 4, Minister Nathi Mthethwa, escalated the failure of the CEO to report and account for the R8.1 million to the Liliesleaf Board, led by former President Kgalema Motlanthe. The Board committed to do a forensic investigation into the matter and report back to DSAC.

The Department is still awaiting feedback from the board in this regard.

It went further:” In 2015 DSAC entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Liliesleaf Trust to upgrade and enhance the facility’s exhibition infrastructure. 

Based on this contract of R9 million, a first tranche of R8,1 million was transferred to the trust. The remaining R900 000 could not be honoured due to failure of Liliesleaf Trust to account on the initial payment of R8,1 million, an obligation spelt out in the MoA between DSAC and Liliesleaf Trust.

In terms of PFMA Section 38, government cannot continue funding an institution that fails to account for public funds that it receives from government,” read the statement.

According to the office of the minister, Liliesleaf Trust is ineligible to receive yearly operational funds from DSAC since the site has not been designated as a Declared Cultural Institution under the Cultural Institutions Act and a Schedule 3, A Public Entity under the PFMA.

Numerous suggestions in this regard by government have not been found favourable by the trust.

However, they refused to be declared, preferring to remain independent and self- sufficient, says the department.

The office at Liliesleaf did not respond for a comment.

Image (The historical and liberation Liliesleaf to close shop).

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