Question NW297 to the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture”

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19 March 2021 - NW297

Profile picture: Van Dyk, Ms V

Van Dyk, Ms V to ask the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture”

(1). With reference to the Iziko Museum, (a) what are the relevant details of the Court Yard project, (b) on what date was the project approved, (c) what was the budget allocation, (d) what work needed to be done, (e) on what date was it supposed to be completed and (f) what is the total amount that has been spent; (2). whether the project (a) has been completed and (b) is currently in use; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?


(1). (a).



Location : The Company Gardens, Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, Western Cape.

The Museum building complex is sited within the Company Gardens and comprises several interlinked buildings which range from the historically significant, main entrance building, (Block A), through the various infill additions and extensions to the early 1980’s, heavily serviced, late brutalist Courtyard Building, (Block C).

Work under this contract extends throughout this complex and involves specialised heritage work in the oldest building on the entrance side, incorporates work to some of the earlier interlinking buildings previously altered and extended, includes work to the high ceilinged Whale Well. The work focusses mainly on the mountain side Courtyard Building (Block C) which is extensively updated, upgraded, structurally strengthened and extended with construction of five floors on piled foundations within the internal courtyard carrying new sixth and seventh floors which cantilever over the original building.

Project Description, scope and objectives:

The project was undertaken to increase the research collections’ storage capacity, to update safety services and to expand the visitor experience.

Alterations and additions were undertaken to update, extend and complement existing museum facilities, including those for the receiving, preparation, research, safe keeping, conservation and select display of scientific natural history specimens. Considerable additional specialized protected storage has been provided, much with close climate control. Also provided are new education and conference facilities, laboratories and management facilities. All services within Blocks C and D have been updated and fire safety in particular has been significantly improved with the range of fire suppression systems implemented including water, foam and inert gas systems. Electronic access control, monitoring and low UV energy efficient lighting is provided.

Work comprised alterations and restoration of various areas within the historic buildings (comprising Blocks A and B) of the Museum Complex; installation of digital display lighting and construction of a new plant room at roof level within the Whale Well (Block B); stripping, alterations and extensive reconstruction of the 1980’s research and collection building, (Block C) and the construction within its courtyard of a new five storey infill structure on extensive piled foundations.

This infill structure supports the new sixth floor which cantilevers over the existing building and houses a multi-purpose, sub-divisible conference facility with breakaway and entertainment areas and a full catering kitchen. Above this the new top, seventh floor accommodates meeting rooms and the executive offices of the eleven national museums in Cape Town, Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Block D, (the building with its two courtyards, which link Block C and the Planetarium) is extensively reconfigured for education facilities and offices, with one light well repurposed as a usable, planted courtyard and the other courtyard roofed, provided with Amphitheatre style seating and integrated with the adjacent classrooms and meeting areas.

New fire protection services installed as part of the works include fail-safe pumped water storage, gas, foam and sprinkler fire suppression systems; energy efficient reverse-cycle heating, ventilation and air conditioning; interactive digital touch-screen displays, two new passenger lifts and a new goods lift; computerised bio-metric access control, digital security cameras, a stand by generator and new electrical, security and alarm infrastructure. Low energy consumption lighting with minimal damaging ultra-violet light output has been installed.

Facilities includes:

  • specialised storage and conservation facilities for specimens preserved in volatile, flammable and hazardous substances which make extensive use of mobile racking to maximise efficiency, and
  • specialised, separate safe marine mammal and terrestrial vertebrates wet dissection areas with purpose made tables incorporating down draft extraction for health and safety reasons, served by a travelling mono-rail crane which links to new cold and freezer rooms, the high hazard tank storage facility and vehicle loading docks,
  • the fossil specimen preparation laboratory,
  • taxidermy, maceration and specimen preparation areas,
  • workshop, display preparation, spray-room and associated design facilities,
  • conference facilities, breakaway rooms, catering facilities and support functions,
  • education facilities and classrooms, including roofing and internalising a courtyard for teaching purposes,
  • removal of redundant facilities and structure to provide additional display and teaching facilities in Blocks A and B,
  • the executive, finance and administration offices,
  • the research and special collections library,
  • the bio-diversity teaching and demonstration laboratory,
  • scanning electric microscope room and digital X-ray room.

Inert gas, foam or water fire suppression systems, appropriate to the various collections protect these areas and two on-site water storage tanks on piled foundations with autonomous pumps ensure adequate supply, independent of external power or water to separate fire hydrant, hose reel and sprinkler systems. Ground water has been tapped for reticulated for irrigation purposes.

(b). The project was approved on the 20th May 2005 (as per Procurement Instruction document)

(c). The budget allocated was R 339 303 043.19

(d). The work needed to be done was specialised storage and the other facilities noted above were required, obsolete infrastructure and services needed to be updated, fire and general safety and security improved and the structure of the building strengthened as this was showing stress cracks and signs of overloading before any new facilities were added. Some inappropriate modifications to the buildings needed to be removed, original spaces reinstated and their building fabric restored.

Inadequate fire suppression systems in Blocks C and D needed upgrading and replacement with energy efficient systems.

(e). The Original Practical Completion Date was 30 June 2014

Contract Commencement Date and duration: 29 June 2012. (24 months) Site Handover Date: 14 January 2013 (Award delayed due to adjudication process & non-availability of site).

(f). The total amount that has been spent including professional fees is R 319 403 705, 55

2.(a). The project/works reached the stage of practical completion in terms of the building contract on 14 August 2020 when the last few areas of the works were handed over to the User Department. The contractor is currently attending to snags prior to achievement of the contractual stage of Works Completion, anticipated to be achieved by end March 2021 with Final Completion early in July 2021.

(b). Yes, it is currently in use

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