DA Writes to Derek Hanekom On Robben Island Mismanagement [press release]

Reports surfaced today that Robben Island’s R26 million ferry, Sikhululekile, is too big to fit over the rocks surrounding the Robben Island Harbour.

The ferry has repeatedly been damaged due to this, with the repair delays and other technical issues causing majour problems for tourists trying to visit Robben Island.

I will write to Derek Hanekom to request that he intervenes in this matter, as it is causing problems for tourists trying to visit the island, and is having a detrimental impact on our reputation as a tourist destination. Minister Hanekom should push for Robben Island to be fully operational as soon as possible.

Derek Hanekom is responsible for maintaining our reputation as a tourist destination, and as such he must take action when one of our premier tourist destinations becomes dysfunctional.

The problems at the Robben Island Museum have already had a measurable impact on the popularity of the venue in recent years. According to the Robben Island Museum’s annual report, revenue from tour sales decreased by R1.3 million in the 201213 financial year. Furthermore, visitors to Robben Island had declined by 5% in December 2013 compared to December 2012. Statistics are not yet available for 2014.

The Robben Island Museum is an important national treasure that will forever remind us of the enormous sacrifice Madiba made for all of us.

We must guard this institution and ensure that it remains open and accessible for all, so that we can showcase the sacrifices by our global icon to the world.

The mismanagement of this vital national asset cannot be ignored. It is important that all heritage sites are properly managed.

If we do not manage our tourist attractions properly, we will lose tourists, lose tourism revenue and lose jobs. We cannot afford to compromise excellence at a site as important as the Robben Island Museum.

Madiba’s legacy requires us to make sure that the Robben Island Museum is a centre of excellence that we can all be proud of.

James Vos

Shadow Minister of Tourism

Source : Democratic Alliance