Guide barred from museum premises

Poloko Nthako a Volunteer tour guide at hector pieterson memorial/museum Orlando Soweto 02.04.2012 Picture:Dumisani Dube

Poloko Nthako a Volunteer tour guide at hector pieterson memorial/museum Orlando Soweto 02.04.2012 Picture:Dumisani Dube

Published Apr 4, 2012



A VOLUNTEER tour guide has been barred from working at the Hector Pieterson Museum after a fallout with a security guard.

Poloko Nthako had been working as a volunteer outside the museum for eight months when he was in a confrontation with the security guard, who pointed a gun at him.

“I worked outside as a guide giving tourists and some locals history tours about the symbolic site,” he said, adding that tips he received from tourists put food on his table. Originally from Sharpeville in the Vaal, Nthako came to Soweto to find better work.

“On quiet days I’d make anything from R60 to about R300 and on good days I would make up to R500,” said Nthako, who is now out in the cold.

He said he had developed into one of the best tour guides in Soweto. “Many tour operators would call me to ask for my assistance and I had built a network with them,” he said.

Now he isn’t allowed to set foot on the premises.

Nthako claimed he was pushed, slapped and chased by a security guard with a gun on the afternoon of February 16 after he had an argument with a woman.

He said he had given money to the woman who worked at foreign exchange bureau in the Maponya Mall.

“Sometimes I receive money in dollars and other currencies. I had US$30 (R230) and 1 000 rupees (R153) and asked her to change the currency for me and give it to me the following week,” he said.

Nthako said the woman did not give him back his money and denied ever taking it from him. The security guard then asked about the situation, and after Nthako refused to answer him, he pushed and slapped him. Nthako retaliated and punched him in the face. He said the security guard then took out his gun and chased him around the museum.

“I ran into a nearby house and jumped the wall. That’s when his gun fell and I went to the police station to report him,” he said.

Some hawkers who sell crafts opposite the museum corroborated his story. “The guard had no right to point a gun at him. Poloko was having trouble with two women when the incident happened,” said one.

Nthako laid a charge against the security guard on the same day at the Orlando East police station.

Nthako said he was then told by the curator that he was no longer allowed to operate at the museum.

A week later, on February 23, when the case was due in court Nthako said he was approached by the security company, SOS Protec Sure, who offered him R3 000 in compensation if he dropped the charge. Nthako said he agreed to this and accepted the money.

But the manager of the company, Johnson Magubane, denied giving Nthako money, saying they were aware of the incident.

He said the security guard involved had been removed from the museum.

Curator Khwezi Gule referred all queries to the City of Joburg.

The council’s deputy director of museums and galleries, Langelihle Mfuphi, said he would be able to respond today as there were procedures he needed to follow.

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