Minister says Rhodes must go quietly, after talks

2015-03-25 22:19
UCT Rhodes statue. (News24 User)

UCT Rhodes statue. (News24 User)

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Johannesburg - The department of arts and culture does not support any violent removal of Cecil Rhodes' statue from the UCT campus, Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Wednesday.

"We neither support nor encourage the violent removal of any statue because we do not encourage people taking the law into their own hands," he said in a statement.

"As government, we encourage citizen participation in efforts to find an amicable resolution to this matter through dialogue and negotiation."

Mthethwa said his department had not received any formal application for the statue's removal.

On Monday, University of Cape Town students staged a sit-in at the campus.

Rhodes, 1853-1902, was a British colonialist, businessman, mining magnate, and politician in South Africa. He founded Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) which was named after him in 1895. Rhodes University is also named after him. Provisions of the Rhodes Scholarship are funded by his estate.

Last week, a student reportedly emptied a toilet on the Rhodes statue at the campus. The statue was also covered with black rubbish bags.

The 'Rhodes Must Fall' group said it planned to implement political education at the campus.

Vice Chancellor of UCT, Max Price, said at the time the statue should not be destroyed, just moved.

The students rejected his suggestion.

Notices had been put up on the university's noticeboards asking for the student's input. Alumni had been e-mailed and also asked to share their views.

Mthethwa said on Wednesday any entity or community that wanted to move or remove the statue would need to undertake a 30-day public consultation process, with notifications that included presentation to the authorities and inviting comments from affected and interested parties.

Read more on:    uct  |  nathi mthethwa  |  monuments debate  |  cecil john rhodes

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