Mr NE Mthethwa
Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture
Parliament of the Republic of South Africa
Private Bag X9137
Dear Minister Mthethwa
Liliesleaf Farm Museum staff plea for assistance: urgent
1. I was recently approached by the staff of the Liliesleaf Farm Museum situated in Rivonia, who find themselves in an untenable situation, for help.
2. As I understand it, the Liliesleaf Farm Museum was closed due to lockdown as Covid-19 hit our shores in March 2020. The staff informed me that the Liliesleaf Farm Museum Chief Executive Officer (CEO) assured them that they would still earn their salaries during the closing period but reneged on this promise around October 2020 “due to financial difficulties”.
3. The staff had at that time apparently tried to visit former President Kgalema Motlanthe, whom I understand to be the Chairman of Liliesleaf Trust, to find answers but he had refused to attend to them and referred them back to their CEO.
4. Members of the board had thereafter met with staff and explained that the Trust was bankrupt, but worse that the organisation was under investigation; a matter relating to R8,1million that the Department of Arts and Culture had given the Museum/Trust in 2015 that had to be accounted for.
5. It seems that all financial assistance to the Museum/Trust has dried up because of this? According to the complainants, you had released a statement, saying that if you received the report, you would release funds for Liliesleaf Farm Museum to operate. Where is the hold-up?
6. I noticed the very public fall-out in the media regarding the matter, but as the two elephants are fighting the grass is getting trampled over. I therefore wish to bring to your attention the fact that the staff are, as I understand it, still employed, but are not getting paid. These are human beings who are severely struggling to put food on the table for their families for the past two years and some are about to be evicted from their rented homes.
7. I herewith request your urgent attention to the matter.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement