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Robben Island Museum bosses probed after ex-prisoners complain

Former inmates of Robben Island have complained about poor governance, nepotism and corruption among the museum's board and managers, who hit back with counter-allegations. File photo.
Former inmates of Robben Island have complained about poor governance, nepotism and corruption among the museum's board and managers, who hit back with counter-allegations. File photo.
Image: Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images

Arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa has instituted an independent investigation into the management of the Robben Island Museum.

This follows consultations with the Ex-Political Prisoners Association (EPPA), whose members were prisoners there during apartheid, the minister's office said on Friday.

The association had presented the ministry with a host of allegations concerning nepotism, corruption and governance problems against the museum's management team and board.

The museum then presented counter-allegations against the association.

As a result, Mthethwa decided an investigation was required.

"The allegations made by the Ex-Political Prisoners Association against the Robben Island Museum board and management are grave. They are primarily centred on issues of governance, nepotism and corruption. Worthy to note, is that upon being presented with these allegations, [museum] leadership subsequently made its own counter-allegations against the EPPA. The counter-allegations made were also brought to the attention of the leadership of the EPPA.

"I have considered and consulted at length on both cases ... [and] have decided on the immediate course of action, an independent probe."

Because of the seriousness of the allegations against the museum's leadership, it was of the utmost importance to undertake a formal process, Mthethwa said, adding that the initial stages of the investigation were already under way.

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