Outcry over R3,2 mln for another Shaka statue

2012-10-18 00:00

KWAZULU-Natal taxpayers are set to cough up another R3,2 million for a second statue of Zulu King Shaka, which is to be erected at the King Shaka International airport.

An earlier statue, erected at the airport in 2010 was later removed, allegedly after a public outcry over the way in which the Zulu king was depicted. It also cost R3,2 million, bringing the total spent on statues to R6,4 million.

An August 2012 parliamentary reply from KZN Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, to questions posed by the DA, revealed the cost of the new statue, which is currently being completed. The parliamentary questions were submitted after attempts by the DA to establish these costs were thwarted during portfolio committee meetings.

DA leader in the KZN legislature, Sizwe Mchunu, said it was difficult to comprehend how KZN’s government can condone spending R6,4 million on statues, given the massive challenges facing the province, particularly in education, housing and the health sector.

Mchunu said the money could have built 21 classrooms or 71 RDP houses, including services and municipal input. “It could have funded a state-of-the-art clinic serving a population of at least 20 000 people — with R2 million to spare,” he said in a statement. “While it was important to honour our history and commemorate leaders who form an integral part of our heritage, it should not be at the expense of our future.”

He said provincial government’s priorities should lie in providing classrooms for children, housing and quality health.

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