Heritage council and ex-prisoners taking action over Mandela prison key auction
- Heritage authorities are fighting back against the US auction of a key to the prison cell where Nelson Mandela was held
- Mandela's former jailer, Christo Brand, has offered up the key to an auction house in New York
- A group of ex-political prisoners says Brand should be charged with grand theft
The Ex-Political Prisoners Association (Eppa) says it will be taking legal action to block the planned sale of Nelson Mandela's Robben Island prison cell key.
The key to the Robben Island prison cell has been offered by Mandela’s jailer, Christo Brand, to Guernsey auction house in New York.
It's one of several items of Mandela memorabilia due to be auctioned off on 28 January by the US auction firm.
Eppa deputy secretary Mpho Masemola says ex-political prisoners are working with the Robben Island Museum (RIM), the Department of Arts and Culture, and the National Heritage Council to stop the auction of the key.
According to Masemola, the Heritage Council has already opened a criminal case against Brand.
He says the former prison guard should be charged for the theft of state property.
Masemola says Brand most likely obtained the prison key, which was a master key to all Robben Island cells, while conducting private tours of the island prison.
He claims Brand was given preferential treatment by RIM CEO Mava Dada - something the association spoke out against.
Masemola says the Eppa reiterates its call for all Robben Island artifacts to be audited by RIM following the prison key saga.
The Heritage Council have laid a criminal charge with the Hawks, the Hawks are now investigating the case.Mpho Masemola, Deputy-Secretary - Ex-Political Prisoners Association of South Africa
The keys actually belong to the state. We as ex-political prisoners view it as grand theft.Mpho Masemola, Deputy-Secretary - Ex-Political Prisoners Association of South Africa
We were going to lay a criminal charge of theft... we will be doing that very soon... we are discussing it with our lawyer also [in terms of] what kind of action can we take against him.Mpho Masemola, Deputy-Secretary - Ex-Political Prisoners Association of South Africa
Christo Brand, was our jailer and therefore, he is not our friend. That key was the master key that was used to open all the cells. How did he get it?... How did he get his hands on our artifacts?Mpho Masemola, Deputy-Secretary - Ex-Political Prisoners Association of South Africa
Source : https://www.123rf.com/photo_21323525_a-welcome-to-robben-island-sign-at-the-harbour-on-the-island.html