Liliesleaf closure: DA calls on Minister Mthethwa to account to Parliament over his neglect of heritage sites 

Please find  an attached soundbite by Tsepo Mhlongo MP 

The DA has written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture, Beauty Dlulane, requesting that Minister Nathi Mthethwa together with his department appear before the committee to brief Parliament on plans to revitalise South Africa’s heritage museums.

This follows news that Liliesleaf, South Africa’s historic landmark and iconic heritage attraction will be closed indefinitely. Liliesleaf is a significant heritage site that served as a nerve centre of South Africa’s struggle against the apartheid regime. The fact that a museum as important as Liliesleaf is in danger of closing its doors permanently indicates that the ANC administration has abandoned the responsibility of preserving South Africa’s heritage.

Liliesleaf is not the only site that is affected. The District Six Museum, Apartheid Museum, and some of late President Nelson Mandela’s homes are among the many heritage museums associated with South Africa’s struggle against apartheid that are struggling to stay open due to financial difficulties brought on by the lockdown.

Minister Mthethwa appears to be completely out of touch, as he and his department haven’t made any attempt to help these museums overcome their challenges. Many more heritage sites will succumb to the government’s lockdown regulations and the mismanagement by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

The art and cultural sector as a whole is struggling to stay afloat. Artists are struggling to make a living due to a lack of government assistance and irrational lockdown regulations which prevent them from practicing their craft. Many of South Africa’s theatres are also at risk of closing indefinitely, this is posing a serious threat to the livelihoods of many individuals employed in the industry.

The DA demands that the Minister be brought before the Portfolio Committee so that he can be held accountable for dismally failing to preserve South Africa’s arts and cultural sector.