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Resolution Reached Regarding Museum Management Conflict

Oudtshoorn, 04 August 2023There has been a significant development in the ongoing matter concerning the CP Nel Museum management and the Municipality. The scheduled eviction order, which was set to take effect on Monday, 31 July 2023, has been the outcome of a lengthy process stemming from a conflict between the museum management and the Oudtshoorn Municipality.

This eviction order did not include the closure of the museum itself, but rather the removal of the current museum manager and staff. This conflict initially arose shortly after the manager’s appointment, when he drastically increased the rent for the three organizations housed within a building belonging to the Municipality adjacent to the museum building.   This decision rendered the situation not sustainable, leading two organizations, Agri Klein Karoo, and Oudtshoorn Business Chamber, to relocate from the premises.

Furthermore, the manager’s involvement extended beyond the museum’s premises to adjacent areas, including Queen’s Mall. His actions were based on a contract from 1974, a stance that has garnered attention.

Various reasons for initiating the process were highlighted by the Municipality last year and widely covered by the media. These concerns were brought to the attention of the Provincial Minister of Culture and Sport, as well as the manager’s immediate superior, both of whom assured that the manager’s conduct would be promptly addressed.

Of crucial importance is the path forward, especially given the recent election of a new Museum Council. The chairman of the council, along with another council member, engaged with the Mayor last Wednesday, 26 July 2023. They conveyed their commitment to urgently address certain issues within the council’s purview. In light of this, the eviction order has been temporarily suspended.

All indications suggest a positive collaboration between the new Museum Council and the Municipal authorities moving forward. An agreement will be entered into with the council for the overdue debt of the museum. The Mayor stated that “We are optimistic about the prospects of constructive engagement and resolution.”