Media statement issued on behalf of Allan Pellow of Mazars Recovery and Restructuring (Pty) Limited and Michael Moloto of Bahlanka Business Solutions and Administrators (Pty) Limited regarding The Soweto Heritage Trust and The Soweto Heritage Company NPC (now in liquidation)
Johannesburg, 5 November 2020 - The Soweto Heritage Trust ("the Trust"), a charitable trust, was established in 1997 by founding member, the late President Nelson Mandela, with a focus on social and cultural causes.
A primary role of the Trust was the maintenance and promotion of the former home of President Mandela at 8115 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West ("Mandela House"). Mandela House is a prominent cultural and tourist attraction, having been declared a national monument in March 1999.
President Mandela sold Mandela House to The Soweto Heritage Company NPC ("the Company"), a non-profit company in 1998. The Company was established to facilitate the achievement of the Trust's main objective to uphold and facilitate the achievement of a cultural precinct in and around Soweto. Its principal asset was Mandela House.
Unable to effectively maintain and promote Mandela House, and due to the lack of an active board of directors, the Company became dysfunctional and was wound up in December 2016. The Company was in a sound financial position at the time that it was wound up and that position continues to endure.
Following this, Allan Pellow and Michael Moloto were appointed joint liquidators of the Company by the Master of the High Court: Johannesburg in February 2017. Such appointment was made taking into account the national and international importance of and interest in Mandela House.
The affairs of the Company and the Trust were inextricably linked, both sharing a common purpose, and were intended to operate in a symbiotic manner. The Trust, like the Company, was rudderless and unable to function effectively in the absence of a quorate board of trustees. As the objectives of the Trust would be better served if terminated, an application to terminate the Trust was brought in December 2018 and an order terminating the Trust granted in June 2019.
Mandela House has been successfully operated by the Apartheid Museum since 2010, a task it has continued to do with careful and due consideration to ensure its ongoing financial stability. Since February 2017, this has been under the care and supervision of the appointed joint liquidators. As the Company has not experienced any liquidity issues, whether now or prior to it having been wound up, neither Mandela House nor its contents will be sold to defray any expenses or costs that have or will be incurred in the running thereof.
Messrs Pellow and Moloto have introduced streamlined financial processes and internal controls to ensure that both the Company and the Trust remain in good financial standing, this despite not having had any visitors to Mandela House since the national lockdown was implemented in March 2020.
Every employee of Mandela House has, to date, received their full salary and employee benefits due to them, and will continue to do so until the process has been finalised. The employees of Mandela House and their representative trade union have been aware of the Company's winding up from the outset. Employees have also been appraised on the process by the appointed joint liquidators.
Messrs Pellow and Moloto are committed to ensuring that the integrity of Mandela House, its august history, collateral heritage and operation as a museum space, is maintained. To this end, they have engaged the services of leading heritage experts to assist and guide them. Their ultimate intention is for the care and curatorship of Mandela House to be transferred to a suitable entity that will honour the original intentions of former President Mandela, as set out by him in the Trust Deed.
Before the end of 2020, the joint liquidators will issue an Expression of Interest for potential applicants from suitable and qualified organisations to apply in an open tender process to take over the running, management and maintenance of Mandela House in order for it to continue operating as a heritage museum that welcomes visitors from all over the world and continues to honour the life and times of former President Mandela.
Any funds remaining in the Trust after this process has been completed will be distributed to suitable charitable organisations and NGOs in the Soweto area that share a similar purpose and objective as the Trust.
Messrs Pellow and Moloto will continue to navigate this process with due deference to the interests of all affected parties.
For further information please contact: Fahdia Bhayat at firstname.lastname@example.org