A United States-based auction house has agreed to suspend its intended auction of the key to Nelson Mandela’s jail cell on Robben Island. Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has welcomed the news.
He says the key symbolises the country’s painful history and must therefore be returned to the country.
In a statement, the Minister says the auction house has agreed to arrange for the key to be returned to South Africa but the details of the arrangements will be made public at a later stage.
Minister Mthethwa says the sale of various other items that belonged to Madiba has also been stopped.
In terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, the key is considered part of the national estate.
The Minister says it is now up to the South African Heritage Resources Agency to establish – with the help of the Mandela family – whether all the items intended for auctioning form part of the national estate.