DA mayor mum about Verwoerd bust
Johannesburg - A "skelm" DA removed a statue of Hendrik Verwoerd in the dark of the night from the municipal offices in Midvaal, but an anonymous call to the rival FF Plus chairman let the cat out of the bag.
This is according to the FF Plus on Thursday.
"You are bloody 'skelm' (cunning) when you do it like that," said Freedom Front Plus Midvaal chairperson Corrie Pyper.
"I was at home when I got this phone call saying they are removing the statue. At 22:00 at night! When I got there, the whole council was standing there, looking at me as if I am 'gemors' [rubbish].
"Ja, they weren't happy to see me," Pyper told Sapa.
Truck seen removing bust
He said he saw a truck transporting the bust of Verwoerd away.
"I'm not saying apartheid was right, but it is still part of our history.
"If you want to do something like this, you tell people: "Luister, ons gaan julle oom wegvat. Kom neem 'n foto, kom stort 'n traan.' [Listen, we are going to remove your 'uncle'. Come take a picture, come shed a tear."
The mayor of the Democratic Alliance-run Midvaal, in the south of Gauteng, was silent about the story on Thursday morning.
Timothy Nast's personal assistant told Sapa his office's phone was ringing off the hook and promised that he would comment soon.
Nast was quoted in The Sowetan newspaper on Wednesday as saying the DA would rather spend money on service delivery than use the money to remove the Verwoerd statue in the hotly-contested Midvaal.
ANC welcomes bust’s removal
The ANC pounced on the DA, with spokesperson Jackson Mthembu saying it confirmed "that the DA shares apartheid sentiments and philosophies".
The ANC on Thursday welcomed the removal of the bust but charged that it was not done voluntarily.
"While we welcome the DA succumbing to pressure to remove the statue of Dr Verwoerd the ANC remains convinced, because this was not a voluntary action, that the DA is a party committed to reinforcing racial segregation," said ANC head of elections and NEC member, Ngoako Ramathlodi in Johannesburg.
"Verwoerd remains a symbol of apartheid and we believe that this is the reason why the DA has fought to keep the Midvaal lilywhite," Ramathlodi said.
Hotly contested region
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Gauteng said the statue deserved to be "thrown into the dustbin of history".
The FF Plus, however, said the DA now had a lot of explaining to do to the "mainly Afrikaner community" of Midvaal.
"This action by the DA was calculated and happened at night, two weeks before the local government elections, to win over black votes in Midvaal," FF Plus Gauteng leader Jaco Mulder said in a statement.
"The DA is no friend of the Afrikaner."
The Midvaal is hotly contested terrain in the May 18 local election poll - with the ANC determined to wrangle it out of the opposition's hands.