Mandela ‘reinstated’

2019-02-19 06:00
The statue of former president Nelson Mandela was reinstalled on the City Hall balcony, but not in time for the anniversary of his famous 1990 speech.PHOTO: THABANG KUAHO

The statue of former president Nelson Mandela was reinstalled on the City Hall balcony, but not in time for the anniversary of his famous 1990 speech.PHOTO: THABANG KUAHO

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The City of Cape Town has defended its decision to temporarily remove the statue of former President Nelson Mandela from the City Hall balcony.

The statue was removed to accommodate the shooting of a movie.

The matter became a topic among locals when the statue was nowhere to be seen on Monday 11 February, a day that marked the anniversary of Mandela’s release from the Victor Verster prison and a spot where he made his first public speech.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said the statue was installed in such a way that it can be temporarily removed for various reasons. “The statue of our late former president Nelson Mandela was originally installed with the means to allow its temporary removal as the City Hall, like many landmarks in the City, is often used for film shoots and other events,” Plato said.

“The film industry is a valuable source of job creation and skills development for our communities which we must continue to support,” he said.

Plato said the City has appointed a special service provider to manage the de-installation process.

Members of the public, however, found the removal of the statue distasteful and showed their disapproval.

“This (11 February) is the day Madiba got out of prison and gave a speech at the very same place. Most of us wanted to take pictures and pay tribute to the father of democracy for all he and his comrades have done for this country. City officials need to think about these things before they do such a thing,” Aviwe Tshingana said.

Another local, Sandiso Kunene, said he was disgusted by City officials.

“As an administration that was born from the National Party, this is clearly their way of disregarding the legacy of our apartheid heroes. I am not surprised by this act, but I am disgusted,” he said.

Plato said the statue was supposed to be reinstalled in time for the anniversary of Madiba’s famous speech.

“I have spoken to my officials about being more sensitive about this matter and they have acknowledged that it was an oversight not to ensure that the statue was returned in time for the anniversary of the late Tata Madiba’s famous speech. I have put measures in place to ensure that this does not happen again,” he concluded.

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