Note to Editors: Please find the attached English and Afrikaans soundbites from Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Legislature, as well as a video and images here, here and here.
The Jim Fouche Resort at Oranjeville is in a state of advanced decay and ruin. During a recent oversight visit to the once vibrant resort, the Democratic Alliance (DA) found vandalised and ruined buildings and other infrastructure. Most of the infrastructure is unsalvageable and will have to be rebuilt.
The once popular resort was an important tourist attraction with chalets, restaurants, sporting activities such as tennis and put-put, camping sites and a popular venue for anglers.
The resort was rented out to a private sector businessperson who ran the resort as a successful business venture that created employment and contributed greatly to the local economy.
Six years ago, under the Magashule administration, the Free State Provincial Government refused to renew the contract with the tenants indicating that they would temporarily close the resort for renovation. This renovation has not taken place and the resort has since become a derelict skeleton of its former self.
At that time the DA indicated that the real reason for not renewing the contract to make provision for crony based racial transformation.
The decay of valuable and costly infrastructure in the Free State is the result of the ANC-run Provincial Government’s cadre-based transformation agenda, which remains a legacy of Magashule’s administration and which continues today. This agenda has been exposed as a pretext to benefit cronies while residents of the province remain poor and unemployed. This was recently reiterated by Magashule himself with the comment: “Tell me one leader of the ANC who has not done business with government”.
The road between Deneysville, Oranjeville and the Jim Fouche Resort has been under reconstruction for several years. The first R230 million road contract with Sedtrade, who have close ties with Magashule, was prematurely terminated on advice of the Auditor General and a new contractor had to be appointed. The slow pace of the road construction and the lack of funds for renovation has prevented renovation at the resort, and has allowed it to become totally vandalised and for nature to take over.
Last year the MEC for Public Works and Infrastructure in the province indicated that R5,9 million would be allocated towards reconstruction and renovation at the resort. This amount will probably have to be increased if the resort is to be rebuilt resemble its former self. The DA has submitted questions to the MEC for Public Works and Infrastructure, Ms Motshidisi Koloi, to determine what plans are in place to ensure that this valuable and once popular tourist attraction and potential asset to the local economy is not completely lost to the Free State.
The resort remains a mirror image of the Magashule legacy in the ANC-run Free State Provincial Government. This legacy has been characterised by, among others, the implementing a transformation agenda as a pretext to plunder which has cost the province dearly in terms of lost jobs and a decimated local economy.
The DA has submitted questions to the Free State Department of Public Works to ascertain what the plans are for the resort regarding renovations and/or to rebuild this resort.
The DA believes that this resort still has potential to contribute to the economy and job creation in the Metsimaholo Municipality, but only if the political will exists to ensure that it is rebuilt and well managed in conjunction with private sector partners who have the necessary skills and experience to run a resort of this diverse magnitude.
Real economic transformation cannot be realised in a closed crony-based society of insiders with a majority of our people marginalised as unemployed and impoverished outsiders.