Potchefstroom tourism and heritage organizations in the northwest have accused the local municipality of JB Marks of neglecting historic sites in the area. They include, among others, the President Pretorius Museum and the Freedom Charter Memorial Site in Ikageng County.
They say they are not given priority when allocating funds and in many cases no knowledgeable and qualified staff have been employed to look after these sites.
Heritage Potchefstroom president Johan Wolfaardt says the museums run by the municipality are not getting the attention they need.
“The challenge, of course, is that, in particular, the museums supported by the municipality are not getting the attention they need. This is why buildings collapse, this is why objects fall apart. In addition, the problem is that there are no qualified managers who understand how museums operate. They just see it as a tourist attraction, so they will usually name someone with tourist experience. This person is not educated enough or qualified enough.
The municipality admitted that the funds allocated to the management of heritage sites are insufficient.
JB Marks local municipality council member George Chaka says the municipality has a budget allocated to this particular section.
“The municipality has an operating budget allocated to this particular section of this department which is 150,000 rand for this fiscal year. Last year we saw that there was an allocation of 250,000 rand. Regarding President Pretorius, there was an insurance taken out for the President Pretorius Museum whose thatched roof was not part of the insurance package.
JB Marks local municipality accused of neglecting historic sites: