Cop van busts Mandela bust

2014-04-30 14:30
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Cape Town - A police vehicle has reversed into and damaged a bust of former president Nelson Mandela, two days after it was unveiled by President Jacob Zuma in front of the National Assembly in Cape Town.

The incident, which is being described by Parliament as a "freak accident", happened just before 07:00 on Wednesday.

In a statement, it said the right shoulder of the bust had been "slightly dented and scratched".

By midday on Wednesday, the bust had been removed from its metre-high granite plinth - to which it was secured with four bolts - and sent away for repair.

The area had been ringed off with temporary white bollards and red rope.

"We expect the bust will be back in place tomorrow [Thursday]," parliamentary spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs told Sapa.

Last week, one of the contractors involved in the construction of the plinth was asked by Sapa whether his firm intended putting permanent concrete or steel protective bollards around it.

The plinth is located in Stalplein, close to the steps leading into the National Assembly.

"We haven't been instructed to do so," the contractor said at the time.

In its statement, Parliament said the area around the bust was a security zone, "where no ordinary cars are allowed to park".

It said steps would now be taken "to minimise future risk of damage to the bust".

The bronze bust, of the head and shoulders of a slightly-smiling Mandela, is 2.28m high, including the height of the plinth. The shoulders stick out beyond the base.

At its unveiling on Monday, Zuma said it showed how far South Africa's democracy had come in a short space of time.

"By unveiling the statue, Parliament has declared we will continue to walk in Madiba's footsteps... and honour his legacy," he said at the time.

It is understood that the vehicle involved in the incident was a police minibus.

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