'Dire' state of Robben Island under the spotlight

Cape Town – In an effort to up the overall visitor experience, Robben Island Museum has called on the private sector to assist in a comprehensive management overhaul.

IOL reports that Robben Island Museum chief executive, Sibongiseni Mkhize said on Monday that the island had been battling poor quality service and mismanagement for a number of years and that they realised the only way to meet goals and objectives was to involve the right people.

In order to set the ball rolling, he invited companies and organisations to submit proposals to aid in the restructuring and reorganising process.

The museum currently employs 196 people.

Apart from reports of poor visitor experiences from tourists, the island has also been struggling to fulfill all the requirements of maintaining their UNESCO World Heritage Site Status.

Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Nomafrench Mbombo, responded to Mkhize’s call for proposals in a media statement on Tuesday, saying that she agreed that urgent intervention was needed to improve the “dire state of Robben Island,” but believed the Western Cape Government could assist in the process.

“While we welcome the possibility of a public-private partnership in this regard, we believe the solid proposals we have, could go a long way in providing much needed solutions to the dire state of Robben Island,” she said.

Mbombo went on to explain that the Western Cape Government had repeatedly called on national government to relinquish some of the management rights to the provincial government for a better and more effective running of the museum.

Some of the suggestions that have been made include making the Robben Island Museum financial audits public for effective accountability and privatising the ferry system, which will in effect, create economic opportunities for some of the former prisoners.

“The fact that the museum runs the risk of losing its World Heritage Status and crucial functions like running the ferry system, have fallen by the way side is an indictment on our national government. It is an absolute shame that this iconic site is marred by gross mismanagement and is failing at performing even the simplest tasks.” she concluded. 

Have you visited Robben Island recently? What was your overall experience right? Where do you think they could improve? Tell us in the comment section below.

Blane Blandon 2014-08-13 10:51:05 AM
With tourist guides telling visitors that the white South Africans are evil racists its no wonder its going down , I say good riddance to a hole
Annette 2014-08-13 11:20:52 AM
Create another Alcatraz Prison from it --- hardened criminals (murderers, child molesters, rapists) send them there and leave them to rot !
Athena 2014-08-13 11:21:22 AM
Ask the people who maintain The Voortrekker Museum to do it. They are doing a fantastic job of maintaining that.I took my son there last year and it was immaculate.
Arthur Harding 2014-08-13 11:21:41 AM
It just proves they cant even manage a little island nevermind a whole country
Martin van der Merwe 2014-08-13 11:40:41 AM
Rest my case, they cannot manage a piss up in a brewery!!!
jbezuidenhout 2014-08-13 11:52:35 AM
Now after the cANCer government has made a mess of a cash cow they want private sector to help. So does this mean that the ANC can be allowed to mess up everything and then expect private sector to clean it up? No Way!!! Let the Island rot!
Blane Blandon 2014-08-13 11:52:52 AM
The only good thing that came out of the " Island " was the food , look how long the so called "Stalwarts " live for .
Blane Blandon 2014-08-13 11:57:40 AM
I hope that the " Island " loses World Heritage status , teach these thieving scumbags a lesson.
Chris Clark 2014-08-13 12:33:11 PM
unesco will be a good start .
Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg 2014-08-13 12:34:11 PM
So like everything else you screw this up too and then you want the private sector to bale you out. Will they be allowed to sack the whole incompetent lot of you?.