Court orders Durban council to protect sculptures

2012-03-02 00:00

RENOWNED sculptor Andries Botha obtained a court order yesterday compelling the eThekwini Metro Council to do everything in its power to prevent a sculpture of three elephants from being further vandalised.

Steps include taking down the screen around the sculptures and having CCTV cameras monitor the installation and the surrounding area day and night.

The interdict granted in the high court in Durban yesterday is the latest development in a protracted argument about the future of the three elephant sculptures at the Warwick interchange.

Botha, world-renowned for his elephants, was asked to erect the sculptures at a cost of R1,5 million to beautify the interchange for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

In February 2010, just a few weeks before the sculpture was due to be completed, the then Durban ANC leader, John Mchunu, was told to stop the work from continuing, as the sculptures too strongly evoked impressions of the Inkatha Freedom Party logo.

After the work was stopped the municipality erected a shadecloth screen around the sculptures.

About two weeks ago Botha noticed with shock that a man was breaking down one of the sculptures — a wire framework filled with stones. One of the sculptures had been totally destroyed by then, while the others had suffered comprehensive damage.

In the days following, further damage was caused to what was left of the sculptures, with the municipality taking no steps to prevent it, Botha argued in court papers.

The municipality would not give Botha’s legal team the assurance that they would do everything in their power to protect the sculptures and prevent any further damage.

But shortly before the application for an interdict was due to be submitted to the high court the municipality agreed to provide the necessary reassurances.

In terms of the court order the premises must be visited regularly and the metro police have to act when they receive complaints about vandalism to the sculptures.

The premises also have to be “constantly” monitored with CCTV cameras.

When the vandalism was discovered and reported it appeared that the cameras were not working, and the metro police had still not arrived an hour-and-a-half later.

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