New minister faces Island revolt

NEW Minister of Arts and Culture Lulu Xingwana has flown into a major storm in her new job: the entire Robben Island Museum council, including acting chief executive officer Selan Naidoo, have resigned.

NEW Minister of Arts and Culture Lulu Xingwana has flown into a major storm in her new job: the entire Robben Island Museum council, including acting chief executive officer Selan Naidoo, have resigned.

This has left this world heritage institution, once a prison for high-profile political prisoners during apartheid, without its top leadership. The most famous of the former prisoners is former president Nelson Mandela.

The council members resigned on Monday after a lengthy and stormy meeting with Xingwana, which resulted in major disagreements with the leadership of the museum over how this important institution should be run.

Details of the resignations are still sketchy, with the ministry not giving details yesterday about the circumstances surrounding the mass resignations.

"After robust discussion . council members resolved to resign voluntarily with immediate effect," the Department of Arts and Culture said yesterday.

Explaining the council's decision museum spokesperson Shalo Mbatho said: "These tensions were caused by the management style of the acting chief executive.

"He was autocratic, didn't consult anyone .and wanted to change the face of the Island and undermine its tangible essence.

"The fact that 17 workers were going to lose their jobs made the workers more angry."

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