The DA in the Western Cape has noted with deep concern reports of the mismanagement of funds and resources at the Robben Island Museum (RIM). This has led to alleged neglect of the island and reports of senior management receiving salary increases of over 250%.
It was also noted that RIM has tried to attribute the island’s deterioration solely to the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, despite longstanding reports of mismanagement spanning at least 11 years when fraud allegations were first put forward.
The allegation of mismanagement is contained in a report first commissioned by the national Department of Arts and Culture, finding evidence for a disciplinary process to be held. Despite this, the national government has refused to release the report publicly, whilst still claiming 100% transparency regarding RIM.
MPP Reagen Allen states: “I will be visiting the island this week for a first-hand view of its conditions and to determine the next step to be taken in holding the RIM management and national Arts and Culture to account.”
Whilst it has been acknowledged that Covid-19 has placed severe strain on the arts and culture sector, the MPP states that he cannot allow a pandemic to be used as an excuse for concealing a report on a World Heritage Site so fundamental to our country as Robben Island. The museum is, after all, funded by taxpayers.
For this reason, Minister Nathi Mthethwa has been called on to urgently make public the RIM report and the actions taken to address concerns at the island.
“It is important that the public knows what is happening at the museum. This museum contains a mountain of history within it, and the continued secrecy threatens its reputation,” concluded the MPP.