If there is one thing the Ideal Org evolution has proved without a shadow of a doubt it is that spending other people’s money is easy. It is even easier when you are not required to account to those “other people”. The other lesson from this evolution, unfortunately, is the utter, tragic waste.
The Life Improvement Centre in Braamfontein opened with the usual pomp and fanfare in March 2010. According to media statements at the time R6 million was spent on renovations after R3 million was spent buying the building.
The hype leading up to and including the opening was impressive. The building sits across the road from the massive WITS University with thousands of students living in and around the area.
Within weeks of the opening Scientologists were hearing about hundreds of people a week moving through the place and starting on course. Some of those moved on to become staff at the org.
Within months it ran into trouble and it could not sustain itself.
Fast forward 3 years and we see a scene that is all but dead. After hearing rumours that the building is only open to the public two afternoons a week someone went out there to personally investigate. It was 11am on a Monday morning. The building was closed. There were weeds sprouting around the circumference and it is in the early stages of a graffiti epidemic both signs of a building being abandoned.
Some locals who work near the building were asked about the activity in the building and when they are open. This yielded the following answers:
“They open after 1pm or sometimes 3”
“There are no proper hours”
“They are sometimes just open for an hour”
Another solid investment of someone else’s R9 million. In all the regular emails that go out about Ideal Orgs and why Scientologists should continue flowing money toward it, this building is not mentioned anymore. It is the white elephant in the room.