By Mishkah Anthony
27 August 2008
The new Robben Island Ferry was impounded yesterday by the boat's builder "Far Ocean", after being operational for only 7 months.
The firm claims museum management owes it millions of rand.
The Democratic Alliance feels Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan must stop ducking his responsibilities on this matter, and must take steps to prevent a further decline in this institution’s reputation.
DA Spokesperson on Arts and Culture, Desiree van der Walt says,“Although the museum falls squarely within Minister Jordan’s responsibilities, he appears not to have fulfilled a promise made in a response on 1 August to a letter from me to ask the Robben Island council to release a forensic report on the museum.”
Van de Walt claims the Minister has not taken any steps to intervene or keep the public informed, and she is still waiting for a response to a request that she made two weeks ago for a meeting with him to discuss the island.
She says many questions still remain unanswered, especially questions around the tendering for the new boat, why more was paid for it than was initially budgeted, why no penalties were included for late deliveries and why the lowest bid was not accepted.
The DA feels that Robben Island is part of South Africa’s history, and it is a vitally important part of our tourism industry, on which the livelihoods of many people depend. It also receives many millions of rands in public funding every year.
“It is therefore far too important an issue to our country for the public to be kept in the dark about it. The Minister must reassure the public that Robben Island is being properly looked after.”