EPPA considers Public Protector's intervention in Robben Island Museum case

The Ex-Political Prisoners Association is considering approaching the Public Protector to intervene in an investigation at Robben Island Museum.

FILE: A general view of Robben Island. Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - The Ex-Political Prisoners Association (EPPA) said it was considering approaching the Public Protector to intervene in the Robben Island Museum investigation saga.

Last year, Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa launched an independent investigation into the museum.

This relates to allegations of mismanagement and corruption claims made by the EPPA against the museum board and management.

However, the EPPA has criticised the process of the investigation, complaining about the length of time it has taken - a full six months.

"Even this month they are still telling us the same thing that they are waiting for the report,” said the EPPA’s Mpho Masemola, adding, “we are busy now engaging with our lawyers for advice before we contact the Public Protector because the whole process is not transparent."

The Department of Arts Culture told Eyewitness News that its investigation was 80% complete but was now being delayed by additional documentation, requested from the museum.

Director-General Vusumzi Mkhize said they hoped to complete their work by June.

"The interviews will be conducted with the view to comply with the audi alteram partem rule - the right of representation by witnesses and alleged implicated officials," said Mkhize.

The EPPA has also flagged issues with the appointment process surrounding the new board - the current board term is scheduled to end in June.

Masemola has accused the department of deliberately excluding them in the nomination process to elect the new board, something which Mkhize disputed.

"The nomination process was open to the public and it has closed - this is a fair and transparent process. The EPPA has not sent a proposal to the department and as the process for nomination closed, no nomination/s can be accepted."

Mkhize said the process to appoint the board should be concluded by the end of June 2019, and the board will have to take the results of the investigation further.

"If the new board is appointed then they will have taken over and be furnished with the final forensic investigation report in order to implement consequence management," he said.