Zuma’s R6M Statue: The North West government has announced why it cancelled plans to erect a multi-million rand, life-sized sculpture of President Jacob Zuma at Groot Marico.
Premier Supra Mahumapelo had announced in February that the provincial government proposed erecting a six-metre long sculpture just outside Rustenburg in honour of the president.
Groot Marico was where Zuma was arrested in 1963, while he and 45 other Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) recruits were on their way to Zambia for military training.
On Thursday, the North West Government confirmed that the provincial department of Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs had cancelled the R6 million tender for the statue.
According to the provincial government, the withdrawal follows the decision to build a monument in honour of President Zuma.
The monument, as gathered, will include the other Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) recruits who were arrested alongside Zuma.
North West Arts and Culture spokesperson Shuping Sebolecwe also confirmed the report by saying:
“We have withdrawn the tender for the erection of the statue of president Zuma. We’ve put forward the proposal for the construction of the monument, which will include the people who were with the president when they were arrested [during apartheid].”
Meanwhile, the provincial has placed a new advert calling for proposals for the monument.
Department spokesperson Shuping Sebolecwe told reporters:
“There is no longer a need for the services but rather a need to build a monument. The budget that will be availed will be of the capture site of J Zuma. The advert has been retracted and the new advert calling for proposals will be issued in the next edition.”
When the announcement for the statue was made in February, opposition parties cried foul and slammed the government for ditching service delivery for an expensive R6M statue.
Residents of the largely impoverished area opposed the move, calling for people-centered projects.
At the time, members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) threatened to tear down the statue if the provincial department erects it.
While questions about the budget for the monument and reasons for the change of plans are yet to be answered, the DA has welcomed the decision to cancel the statue.
“We will oppose any plans to honour President Zuma. We can’t honour a man with a legacy of unemployment and corruption,” DA provincial leader Joe McGluwa said.
Afriforum also welcomed the decision to abandon the project, upholding that it’s not wise to spend R6 million on erecting a Zuma statue whereas the money can benefit the masses in much better ways.