Reopening of Red Location Museum hit by R8m shortfall

The Red Location Museum in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth Picture: DEON VAN DER WALT
The Red Location Museum in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth
Picture: DEON VAN DER WALT

R3m budget not enough to repair troubled Red Location precinct

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal officials have fewer than six weeks to open the Red Location Museum – but there is not enough money to repair damage caused by vandalism. The multimillion-rand museum, which has been closed for three years, was vandalised and equipment stolen, making it difficult for the municipality simply to reopen its doors.

A stalemate between Red Location residents and the municipality was resolved in May.

The museum was closed in 2013 after angry residents complained about shoddily built RDP houses around it.

At a sports, recreation, arts and culture meeting yesterday, executive director Noxolo Nqwazi said her department only had R3-million in the budget to repair all the damage.

But it needed an additional R8.3-million to refurbish the entire precinct.

Councillors were adamant that the city should use the R3-million at its disposal to fix the damage and reopen the museum as soon as possible.

Portfolio chairwoman Siyasanga Sijadu said the department should not wait until it received extra funding as that might cause further delays.

She said the museum had to be opened within mayor Athol Trollip’s first 100 days in office, which ends towards the end of next month.

“We must utilise the funds there are now to at least open the museum within the 100-day period,” Sijadu said.

ANC councillor Rory Riordan said he felt that the extra money required was “a little overkill”.

“I mean, R900 000 for painting is a heck of a lot of painting,” he said.

“We have done without the facility for too long.

“Staff have been sitting there for too long and they’re probably demoralised and also the public must be demoralised.

“It’s vital that we spend the R3-million judiciously to fix the broken glass and other [obvious] things to get it open as soon as possible while we look formore money for the rest. “We can do it with the amount of money we have,” Riordan said.

But Nqwazi said R2.2-million of the R3-million available was already allocated towards erecting a fence around the entire precinct, as the previous palisade fencing had been stolen.

Responding on what the money to be spent on painting the facility would achieve, Nqwazi said: “One of the major issues is water coming through the roof.”

“That has damaged the walls. “We would need to paint the museum, digital library and gallery.”

“We need to secure the facilities first before we can open. To open it while it is not secured will be fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” Nqwazi said.

The rest of the R8-million needed would be used for waterproofing the precinct, cleaning, paving and installing a fire-detection system, among other things.

Sijadu, deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani and human settlements political head Nqaba Bhanga will be meeting Red Location residents next week.

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