Minister Meyer Gives Robben Island Museum Positive Reviews | Western Cape Government

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Minister Meyer Gives Robben Island Museum Positive Reviews

26 July 2011

On Tuesday, 26 July 2011, Dr Ivan Meyer, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, accompanied the National Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on an oversight visit to the Robben Island Museum.

With the ongoing negative media that the Robben Island Museum (RIM) was receiving due to its ferry regularly breaking down, and the financial mismanagement exposed in a forensics report, Minister Meyer was concerned whether these matters had been addressed. Following yesterday's visit, Minister Meyer said, "It is clear to me today that since the appointment of a new council last year, a new CEO, Mr Sibongiseni Mkhize, and an improved staff contingent, there have been a number of positive developments. The Robben Island I am standing on today is a very different one to the problem-riddled one of recent times."

Minister Meyer acknowledged that the island was a national heritage site and inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, a legacy and reminder of South Africa's destructive and painful past. With visible onsite maintenance, facilities for disabled visitors, numerous nature conservation intervention measures and an overall well-functioning museum, Minister Meyer believed that the RIM's World Heritage Status is not under threat.

The infamous ferry, Sikhululekile, and its new ferry manager were also praised by Minister Meyer as the last maintenance issue to cause "no boat" days occurred in December 2010.

It was also pointed out that a number of functions that the RIM carries out are not related to its core business, such as border control, the school on the island, a clinic, post office and general maintenance. Minister Meyer was pleased to see that the management of RIM had also identified these matters and were addressing them.

However, Minister Meyer cautioned that any issues raised in the 2010/2011 Annual Report, while covering a period predominantly before the appointment of the CEO, would still have to be addressed swiftly and efficiently. Minister Meyer said, "I would like to see this new energy injected into the Robben Island Museum continue. It is clear that the new management is passionate and determined to make a success of the island. Their plans for the future are indeed a sign of good things to come."

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Greg Wagner
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