Erasmus Castle renovation bids being evaluated

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The “serious intervention” needed to ensure the Erasmus Castle on the eastern side of Armscor’s headquarters property in Pretoria returns to its national monument status has resulted in a renovation tender being issued by the defence and security materiel agency.

The Castle’s last known occupants were Roelf Meyer and his 2012 Defence Review team. They used it as a hub from which they visited numerous SA National Defence Force (SANDF) bases and facilities ahead of compiling what was to be then Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s groundwork for a revamped South African military machine. The jury is palpably still out on that – two ministers later – and the unused building has fallen into disrepair.

This sad state saw Armscor call for tenders to refurbish the historic building. A Pretoria architect who visited the structure ahead of the tender issue noted “it is clear no maintenance has been done for years”. According to him “the house is at a point now where normal maintenance would not make a difference. A serious intervention would be necessary to prevent the structure of the verandas from collapsing. The roof of the tower is stripped and is most probably leaking. Scaffolding is currently holding parts of the house and roofs in place (I doubt that the scaffolding was erected for maintenance purposes). The outbuildings are in a relatively good condition (probably because they were relocated), but the graveyard shows signs of vandalism and neglect”.

The Armscor tender invited suitably qualified contractors to bid with 14 received. They are all now in the bid evaluation process with a successful bidder to be named when “all supply chain processes have been concluded”.

The tender is in line with Armscor’s “obligation to keep the Erasmus Castle in an acceptable standard as it is a heritage site” according to Liziwe Nkonyana, Senior Manager: Corporate Communication at Armscor.

Once refurbishment work is complete Armscor does not intend using the building as office accommodation.