A steering committee has been established to effect a turnaround at Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

In the past, locals have complained about ineffectiveness and failure by the museum to improve the socio-economic standing of the area.

The museum was meant to offer youth programmes, accommodation and economic spin offs to the community of Qunu.

The embattled museum has been officially handed over to Public Works and is set to receive a much-needed upgrade worth over R35 million.

The museum has been standing idle since 2014 pending renovations. It was becoming a white elephant, a far cry from what Nelson Mandela espoused.

A month ago the local chief vented the frustration of the community.

“When tata Nelson Mandela wanted the museum to be built he wanted the adventure sites at the museum to attract tourists and used by our children. He wanted employment to be created and create a conducive environment for local entrepreneurs,” says local chief Inkosi Nokwanele Balizulu.

The museum says it has been a frustrating period and welcomes the renovations.

Nelson Madela Museum acting CEO Nontlahla Thandwa says: “It has been very difficult period for us. As you know the museum has a mandate to attract tourists here and teach people about the legacy of Mandela. It is also meant to help the community and effect youth programmes. All of that has been standing still. We are now relieved that the museum will be renovated and adhere to its mandate.”

The Department of Public Works has confirmed the upgrades are worth over R30 million.