Robben Island Museum Welcomes The First Female Executive Manager

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As South Africa recognises and lauds women for their invaluable contribution to the country’s history and in other areas this month, Robben Island Museum (RIM) is proud to announce a historic move in support of employment equity in the workplace – the appointment of the first female Executive Manager since being declared a National Museum in 1997. Breaking this 24-year long cycle is Ms. Maphootla Makhoalibe, who joins RIM as the Chief Infrastructure Officer responsible for infrastructure and facilities management on the Island with effect from 1 August 2021. 

Makhoalibe is a corporate facilities operations / built environment infrastructure, project management & finance, management consulting professional with over 19 years of varied progressive experience in complex investment projects from inception, implementation & acquisition through to disposal in Africa (SADC), the Middle East (Qatar & UAE), United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK). She has in-depth experience in executing investment portfolio performance/network optimization and agile Operations PMO (Centre of Excellence) Strategies through conception of new projects, repositioned assets, design innovation, and planning.

Academically, she is in possession of extensive built environment and infrastructure qualifications; Bachelor’s Degree: Architecture (SA), Master’s Degree: Property Development and Planning (UK). 

 “I would like to thank the Council of Robben Island Museum, as well as the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mava Dada for the opportunity to serve our country in preserving our heritage, as well as trusting me to be the first female in the Executive Management team, especially in what is still considered a male-dominated industry – built environment,” shares Makhoalibe. “My vision is to utilise my expertise to advance RIM’s Innovation Strategy through integrated built environment design; smart technologies & optimised operations; and knowledge mobilisation.” 

With a strong project management delivery background with broad financial appraisal and economics, Makhoalibe joins RIM at a challenging time brought about by COVID-19, yet her experience in business planning and risk mitigation in the built environment sector demonstrated her ability to navigate through tough terrain. She’s passionate about contributing significantly to bottom-line efficiency and profitability.  

Her appointment comes at a time where the entity is reinventing itself through the implementation of various exciting projects that will see RIM reach new frontiers. These include, but are not limited to digitalisation, memorialisation, and business remodeling. 

“This is certainly validation that women are and have always been ready to lead in strategic positions,” shares Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum Spokesperson. “We are excited about Makhoalibe’s arrival and have full confidence that her broad and unique experience will be valuable for RIM. This is certainly a win for women during Women’s Month and we wish her all the best for the journey that lies ahead.” 

Makhoalibe’s mammoth task includes leading a team of about 80 members and ensuring that the Division is managed according to the built environment and heritage approved standards. She will also be responsible for Robben Island’s restoration and conservation efforts as per RIM’s 3rd Integrated Conservation Management Plan and contribute towards the preservation of Robben Island World Heritage Site’s outstanding universal value from an infrastructure point of view.  

Makhoalibe joins the current Executive Management team that comprises of RIM CEO, Mr. Mava Dada, Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Blayne Crocker, as well as Acting Chief Heritage Officer, Mr. Thabo Seshoka.  

For more visit: www.robben-island.org.za