New museum a ‘white elephant’

2018-07-26 06:01
After being completed last year, the maritime museum now stands empty.PHOTO: thami ka-nkosi

After being completed last year, the maritime museum now stands empty.PHOTO: thami ka-nkosi

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THE Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has raised concerns about the unused Port Shepstone Maritime Museum. The state-of-the-art museum, built by the KZN Department of Arts and Culture, stands deserted — an empty shell of very little use to anyone. Although the R 17 million museum was completed last year, it is still not operational.

The museum is part of a number of projects, unveiled by the KZN MEC of Arts and Culture Bongi Sithole-Moloi in 2016, that were to be completed within the uGu District.

These included the construction of a library in Umdoni municipality, the extension and refurbishing of Port Shepstone Library, and the building of a maritime museum.

The museum features a state-of-the-art amphitheatre that can accommodate 50 to 60 people, an exhibition area, archive storerooms, ablutions for disabled people, a boardroom with electronic conference facilities, two offices, 11 surveillance cameras and a cleaner’s room.

IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Arts and Culture Princess Phumzile Buthelezi MPL said it is a shame to have it as it is not beneficial to taxpayers and uGu residents.

“As the IFP, we are very concerned about the abuse of public funds spent on unused government facilities which serve no purpose. The Port Shepstone Museum project has become a white elephant.

“It seems as if the projects were built for the ruling party to gain votes during 2016 local government elections.

“We seek answers from the MEC of Arts and Culture as to why this museum is not functional and ask when it will be handed over to the community.

“Public funds were spent in this project, therefore it must fulfil its intended purpose,” said Buthelezi.

Ray Nkonyeni Municipal Manager Max Mbili has stated that the municipal council had made several requests for the Department of Arts and Culture to officially hand over the building to them but the department has not yet done so.

The municipality recently announced that the museum will be renamed to acknowledge Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

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