Disciplinary action to be taken on mismanagement at Robben Island Museum

Aron Hyman Reporter
Robben Island, where former president Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in jail. Stock photo.
Robben Island, where former president Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in jail. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/mdmworks

Disciplinary action is to be taken against staff at Robben Island Museum after an investigation into allegations of mismanagement found there was a prima facie case for disciplinary steps.

The Ex-Political Prisoners Association (EPPA) has for years bemoaned the state of management at the island, a world heritage site where political prisoners including former president Nelson Mandela and liberation veterans Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni and Denis Goldberg were held.

The state attorney appointed MacRobert Attorneys in June 2020 to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by the island’s management.

The report with their findings was handed to the Robben Island Museum council on Monday with recommendations which included starting a disciplinary process.

“The Robben Island Museum (RIM) council is pleased to announce that its investigation into allegations of mismanagement at RIM has been completed and that it has been furnished with the contemplated report of legal advice,” read a statement from council chair Khensani Maluleke.

“The recommendations are still to be implemented, so at this point in time we can confirm that the investigation revealed evidence which sustains a prima facie case for disciplinary steps, in relation to one of the allegations.”

The statement said EPPA made allegations concerning the museum’s alleged mismanagement in November 2018 but more allegations had emerged since then.

“Given their nature and content, the RIM council resolved that it would assess and investigate the allegations. It also resolved to address certain further and/or new allegations of mismanagement that had arisen subsequent to the November 2018 allegations,” read the statement.

“Out of respect of the RIM employees concerned, potential witnesses and the integrity of the disciplinary process as a whole, no further information can responsibly be provided at this stage,” said Maluleke.

“At the finalisation of the disciplinary process and/or any other legal proceedings relating thereto, the outcomes thereof will be made known and an executive summary of the report made available to the public.

“We wish to thank the EPPA for bringing the allegations to our attention and for their steadfast commitment to the wellbeing of RIM’s interests.”


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