Monday, 3 October 2011

New antiquities head, new plan, protestors satisfied - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

New antiquities head, new plan, protestors satisfied - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Today, in his first day in office, newly appointed Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Mostafa Amine met with protestors camped in front of the SCA’s Abassiya building for four days.

Amine told Ahram Online that he told protestors that he agreed with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to immediately resolve their problems and to appoint all temporary staff who have spent more than three years working at SCA.

As a first step, he asserted, 4065 temporary employees will be immediately appointed to be followed by more appointments until the almost 12,000 temporary employees are all made permanent. The protestors were convinced and promised to end their protest.

But what about fresh graduates?

Amine responded that for the time being it is impossible to hire new graduates as “We have to appoint the temporary staff first, as they have priority.” “They are among the SCA’s staff and its office echelon,” Amine pointed out, asserting, “I have to first fix the conditions of the SCA's temporary staff and then see about outsiders.”

Amine said the delay in appointing the temporary staff is not the fault of the SCA’s last secretary general, but rather is the fault of the previous government. Even the 4065 temporary employees that former Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass had approved appointing were not appointed due to government reluctance amid fears that other ministries would ask for the appointment of their temporary staff.

Amine also met top SCA officials and listened to their complaints. He informed them of the details of his meeting with Sharaf in an attempt to open a new page with them and other SCA staff. “I am the son of the SCA and all the staff are my colleagues,” Amine said.

Asked about the fate of Egypt's ancient monuments under his tenure, given his specialty in Islamic and Coptic monuments, Amine assured that his training would not be an obstacle to caring for ancient Egyptian monuments. “My duty is to preserve Egypt’s antiquities, whether Islamic, Coptic, Jewish and Pharaonic,” Amine confirmed.

Amine told Ahram Online that he wants some time to reorganise the SCA and its administrative and archaeological works, but he promises to complete the SCA’s mega projects such as the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza Plateau, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC), as well as removing all encroachment at Al-Muizz Street and at Sphinxes Avenue in Luxor in order to reopen it soon.

Amine said that his first decisions as SCA secretary general were to appoint former secretary general Mohamed Abdel Fatah as the head of the NMEC Supreme Committee, and Adel Abdel Satar to head the Islamic and Coptic Antiquities Department. Amine was formerly head of that department.

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