Securing Zeitz MOCAA’s facilities

July 2018 Access Control & Identity Management

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa (MOCAA) is the first of its kind in Africa and the eyes of the continent are firmly fixed on this public not-for-profit facility. The museum is situated adjacent to the well-known tourist destination – the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town – which attracts 24-million visitors annually.

A Powell Tronics-supplied biometric reader at the entrance to the Centre of Art Education within the Zeitz MOCAA facilities.
A Powell Tronics-supplied biometric reader at the entrance to the Centre of Art Education within the Zeitz MOCAA facilities.

The museum collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits 21st century art from Africa and its diaspora, hosts international exhibitions, develops supporting educational and enrichment programmes, encourages intercultural understanding and guarantees access for all. There are over 100 galleries, spread over nine floors, dedicated to a large cutting-edge permanent collection, temporary exhibitions and centres for art education, curatorial excellence, performative practice, photography, the moving image, and the Costume Institute.

“The art is considered a priceless asset and must be naturally secured at all times It was also essential to manage the flow of staff and third parties. It is vital to ensure that it is protected from both theft and damage, so it is deemed of the utmost importance to carefully control the access of all individuals entering the museum and to keep the building safe at all times,” says John Powell, CEO of access control specialists Powell Tronics.

“A knock-on benefit is the ability to enhance the OHS element by determining the number of people who are in the facility at one time and being able to account for them at muster points in the event of an emergency,” adds Powell.

The museum’s Lungile Thethelwa says that several partnerships were established during the realisation of MOCAA, from construction to cost consultancy. “Rather than demolish the cluster of 42 concrete maize storage cylinders, these 33-metre high tubes were re-purposed into a striking art centre that pays homage to its surroundings. The 6 000 m2 exhibition space houses galleries, a rooftop sculpture garden, state-of-the-art storage and conservation areas, a bookshop, a restaurant and bar, and reading rooms. The highly unusual building, with its cathedral-like atrium, required the best-of-breed security and appropriate solutions were carefully considered.”

Matthew Bushell (operations coordinator at Powell Tronics) with Thobile Ndarana (manager: Councils and Membership at Zeitz MOCAA).
Matthew Bushell (operations coordinator at Powell Tronics) with Thobile Ndarana (manager: Councils and Membership at Zeitz MOCAA).

Thethelwa explains that Powell Tronics was selected as a solutions provider due to its acumen and reputation in the access control space. “Armed with extensive technical proficiency and knowledge, the team has managed a successful implementation of a world class access control system. The Impro software and various readers are fully operational on approximately 100 doors at the museum’s entrance and exit points. The system has completely exceeded our expectations and we would not hesitate to recommend Powell Tronics as a service provider, based on their technical insight and ability to strategically advise on security and access control requirements in an efficient manner.”

“We recognise that institutions like this require tried and tested security systems. By applying our knowledge and expertise gained over the past 10 years, we are able to customise solutions that best fit the application. This is not only a first for Africa in terms of its sheer size, but it is a wonderful tribute to the preservation of valuable African artefacts and we are pleased to be playing a role in keeping them safe and secure. Access control on this site is impressive because of the underlying link to preservation and protection of the legacy that the museum represents,” says Powell.

“Powell Tronics’ passion for security and Zeitz MOCAA’s passion for contemporary African culture forms a perfect partnership in illustrating best practice. We are sensitive to creating value in the community and recognise that Africa’s impressive heritage must be cherished and celebrated, in a safe and secure manner. We welcome the opportunity to become involved in projects of this nature, which are outside the bounds of our usual customer projects,” says Powell.

For more information contact Powell Tronics, 0861 787 2537,,

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