Robben Island Museum Council convene to address “Forensic Investigation Report into the Management of Robben Island Museum”

In prioritising consideration of the “Forensic Investigation Report into the Management of Robben Island Museum,” Robben Island Museum Council convened for a special meeting to address matters related to the said report on Thursday, 16 January 2020.

This follows a commitment by RIM Council to address concerns that had been raised relating to impropriety, amongst others, some of which are dealt with in the report following the Investigation

Acting in terms of its fiduciary duties, under statutory prescripts and the law, RIM Council has considered the matters before it and has decided that the allegations are serious enough to seek legal advice on how RIM Council should address it.

As the matter is litigation-sensitive and whilst being mindful of the rights of those who might be affected in the process, Council will be guided by the legal advice in dealing with the matters. In accordance with that advice, Council is at this stage unable to elaborate more on the internal steps it may follow.

Council’s list of additional priorities

  • Two-Day Strategic Planning Session: Council attended a two-day strategy session from 21 – 22 January 2020 to review, discuss and enhance RIM’s draft Strategic Plan (2020 -2025) and the Annual Performance Plans for the 2020/2021 financial year against progress made on the 3rd Integrated Conservation Management Plan (ICMP) 2018-2023. 

RIM is tasked with managing Robben Island World Heritage Site, which is an important hybrid resource with conservation, social and tourism mandates.  The management of the site within this context brings a unique set of opportunities and challenges.

The opportunities identified by the RIM Council and Management are outlined in the 3rd Integrated Conservation Management Plan (ICMP) 2018-2023 and the Strategic Plan of Robben Island Museum.

Implementation of the 3rd ICMP provides an integrated framework for managing the multi-layered values of Robben Island as a national and World Heritage Site. RIM reports to UNESCO against the 3rd ICMP. The Strategic Plan, which is a requirement of the South African Government, is aligned to the 3rd ICMP to ensure integrated reporting and accountability from a compliance and governance perspective.

Council therefore needed to set out a framework to align strategic and annual performance planning with emphasis on the outcomes-oriented monitoring and evaluation approach. An Annual Performance Plan sets out what the institution intends doing in the upcoming financial year and during the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF)T to implement its Strategic Plan. The APP would be tabled in accordance with the stipulation of PFMA and concomitant Treasury Regulation. 

  • Wage negotiation dispute: Council used the two-day session to additionally be appraised on matters regarding to the current wage-related dispute which is set to reconvene on 06 February 2020 at the CCMA. 

Council is optimistic that the outcome would have taken both the workers’ conditions and the Institution’s needs into account, and that both parties would have sufficient time to reflect on current positions, test realities, and further explore best alternatives aimed at resolving the current dispute. 

  • Ex-Political Prisoners’ socio-economic plight: Robben Island Museum is aware of and acknowledges the existence of the Ex-Political Prisoners incarcerated on Robben Island from inception. When RIM was established as a museum, there was a conscious decision to establish reference groups that were working with RIM management on various aspects of the Island. In the same understanding, Robben Island Museum in its governance structure, established an Ex-Political Prisoners Advisory Committee (EPPAC) in 2017, as a sub-committee of RIM council. The purpose of this advisory committee is to offer guidance on research, interpretation, presentation and conservation of the Island; and to further structure dialogue between RIM and EPPs on broader issues affecting both parties.

Existing RIM EPP benefits:

  • RIM provides a funeral benefit to deceased RIM EPPs families to the tune of R17 500, plus the cost of two staff members who attend to record the funeral proceedings as part of research. Often, a RIM EPP accompanies the videographer to attend the funeral.
  • EPPs employed by RIM benefit from the RIM Bursary and staff development schemes open to all staff members.
  • However, RIM has no mechanism for non-staff members except via the relationship between RIM and UWC on postgraduate studies, which is also an open process to any prospective student.
  • The bursary/staff development schemes are reviewed on annual basis by RIM.
  • This is over and above the benefits the EPPs already qualify for as administered by the Department of Military Veterans.
  • Following growing concerns from RIM EPPs, Council has considered advocating their dire economic plights at National level to provide additional support to what RIM currently has in place to address most of their needs. 

RIM is a public entity responsible for managing, maintaining, presenting, sustainable development and marketing of Robben Island as a National and World Heritage Site in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act of 199 and the National World Heritage Act of 1999, respectively. It was established by the Department of Arts and Culture in 1997 and is declared as a cultural institution as per the Cultural Institutions Act, No 119 of 1998 and a public entity by the Public Finance Management Act No 1 of 1999.

RIM is governed by a Council appointed by the Minister of the Department of Arts and Culture, with duties prescribed in the Cultural Institutions Act.

In understanding RIM’s vision, “To preserve and promote Robben Island as an inspirational national treasure and World Heritage Site that symbolises the triumph of the human spirit over extreme adversity and injustice,” Council fully appreciate their responsibility of managing an institution of this stature.

Council applauds all the positive contribution made by all RIM employees and are committed to serving diligently by prioritising pertinent matters in advancing RIM’s broad aspirational vision as they fulfil their fiduciary duties. 

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