Cape Town mayor disappointed that Mandela statue was not returned on time

2019-02-13 05:24
Western Cape premier Helen Zille, City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and Economic Development MEC Alan Winde during the unveiling of a Nelson Mandela Statue at the Cape Town City Hall in July (supplied)

Western Cape premier Helen Zille, City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and Economic Development MEC Alan Winde during the unveiling of a Nelson Mandela Statue at the Cape Town City Hall in July (supplied)

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Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said he was disappointed when he found out that his officials did not act fast in returning the statue of former statesman Nelson Mandela to the Cape Town City Hall in time for the anniversary of his release from prison.

Plato replied in a statement to the ANC in the Western Cape that it was important to address the matter.

This, after the statue, which stands on the balcony where Mandela gave his first speech after his release, was removed on Monday to accommodate a film shoot. It was returned on Tuesday.

"The statue of our former president, Nelson Mandela, unveiled in June 2018, was originally installed with the means to allow its temporary removal for safety and security reasons, as the City Hall, like many landmarks in the City is often used for film shoots and other events. We have appointed a special service provider to manage this process," he said.

But members of the public did not seem to like the idea because the day coincidentally marked the 29th anniversary of Mandela's release from prison.

Producer of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Anant Singh, took to Facebook to condemn the act, saying that while he acknowledged the contribution the film industry brought to the economy of Cape Town, "we should never compromise our liberation history and heritage under any circumstances".

"I am sensitive to the needs of a film production, but it is common to digitally remove objects in camera shot in post-production," Singh wrote.

"The film industry is a valuable source of job creation and skills development for our communities, and which we must continue to support. I have spoken to my officials about being more sensitive about this matter and they have acknowledged that it was an oversight to not ensure that the statue was returned in time for the anniversary of Tata Madiba's famous speech.

"As the mayor of Cape Town I have put measures in place to ensure that this does not happen again," said Plato.

READ: Mandela statue returned to balcony of Cape Town City Hall after backlash

ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs lashed out at the DA and said the party had no history of struggling in the trenches against apartheid.

"The DA desperately wants to expropriate the struggle credentials of a liberation party such as the ANC. For years the DA has been trying to steal Nelson Mandela's legacy and claim that it is the real holders of South Africa's first democratically elected president's legacy. This is despite Mandela often joking that after his death, he would be looking for an ANC branch in heaven.

"Stealing Mandela's legacy for cheap political gains, however, does not mean that the DA knows his history. If it had, it would not have agreed, as the City of Cape Town did, that his statue could be removed from a City Hall balcony for a film shoot on Monday," said Jacobs.

ALSO READ: ANC wants to restore 'Mandela's vision' in Western Cape

The party added that giving permission for its removal was "disgraceful" and what was more "disgusting" was that it was allowed to happen on the day when the world commemorated the historic day in 1990 when Mandela walked from Victor Verster prison a free man.

"It just shows how little the DA knows or cares about South Africa and its founding father. For the DA, stealing history in a bid to make it more acceptable to voters is far easier than making it," Jacobs claimed.

"But, our communities can tell the difference between real liberation fighters and fake ones. DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato owe our country an apology for Monday’s fiasco. After this. who will take the DA seriously when it talks about having fought against apartheid?" he asked.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  nelson mandela  |  dan plato  |  cape town  |  politics
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