FAK removes Verwoerd bust, ANC claims victory

2011-05-06 00:00

THE ANC yesterday described the removal of the bust of apartheid architect H.F. Verwoerd from the Democratic Alliance-controlled Midvaal Municipality as a victory for the ANC.

The ANC’s national election chief, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, believes the DA “succumbed to pressure and removed the bust of the apartheid architect under the veil of darkness”.

This came after the ANC accused the DA of sympathising with apartheid by refusing to remove the bust.

The Klip River Valley Kultuurraad (cultural council), to whom the bust actually belongs, had it removed by a contractor on Wednesday morning. Ramatlhodi said Verwoerd is a “symbol of apartheid and we believe that is the reason the DA fought to keep Midvaal white”.

But DA national spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko believes the ANC’s “sudden interest in the bust is an attempt to draw attention away from valid issues”.

The ANC controlled the Midvaal council from 1994 until 2000.

Kultuurraad chairman Freddie Peters said the bust was removed to prevent theft and vandalism. This came after the ANC threatened during a television interview to remove the bust themselves.

The bust stood on municipal ground opposite the Meyerton municipal swimming pool for 28 years.

“There were also rumours that the bust would be damaged. We didn’t want the bust to land up in the wrong place. Removing it was the practical thing to do,” said Peters.

Peters believes it is unnecessary for the bust to become the centre of a political fight. It is being kept in a safe place.

Jeff Rademeyer, the ANC’s spokesperson in Sedibeng, said the ANC felt the bust was “governing from the grave”.

“The DA must explain the way black people are treated in Midvaal, because there is a connection with the bust. It influences how the DA governs Midvaal.”

Cosatu, too, wanted to see the bust removed and be thrown into the “rubbish bin of history”, otherwise they would destroy it.

The FF Plus leader, Pieter Mulder, said the DA “cannot change the history of South Africa by removing statues”.

There are still about 30 South African roads, residential areas and schools named after Verwoerd. At least 14 of these are in Gauteng, 11 of them in ANC-controlled areas.

The Kultuurraad, which falls under the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurverenigings (FAK ), has been inactive for a while, but has not formally disbanded. Former members of the Kultuurraad apparently met the chairperson of the FAK to discuss the bust.

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