Paul Kruger statue defaced

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pretoria – Monday’s vandalism of the bronze sentries at the Paul Kruger statue in the Pretoria city centre has been condemned by the City of Tshwane.

According to media reports, green paint was thrown on the sentries. This follows the defacing of a number of statues and monuments across the country earlier this year.

Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said he had embraced the call to reconsider and ultimately relocate the statues of various historical personalities through a mediated and consultative process.

“We believe that the current debates has provided us an ideal opportunity to rethink on the identity of the city as reflected through its artistic and general historical architecture and remain open to proposals for how best we can resolve the issue to its logical conclusion – and any intervention outside of the parameters of open dialogue and engagement will not address the concern of any cultural or political grouping,” said the Executive Mayor on Tuesday.

He said since April this year, he had engaged the Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthetwa on his general view, counsel and approach to the issues relating to these monuments.

The Mayor had also convened numerous consultations since April on matters relating to the future of statues, buildings and monuments in the city with the aim of determining the public opinion and sentiment on their relocation, removal, renaming and restoration where required.

There has also been an audit of vulnerable, sensitive and priority installations - monuments and statues - requiring transitional interventions. “We will soon be publishing for public comment, a list of such and the proposed interventions - relocation, donations, decommission by public auction to public interest organisation,” said the Mayor.

He believes this would “quell the current state on uneasiness notwithstanding that the matter of reviewing the total ecology of monuments, statues and memorials in the post-democratic South Africa was part of the plans of the heritage institutions”.

“The city believes that as much as these incidents are symptomatic of deep seated issues within the nation, the heritage sector cannot afford to fold its arms and do nothing about them because it is indeed true that the pace of transformation in the sector has been slow,” said the Mayor.

He reiterated that the vandalism, destruction and defacing of heritage sites, artifacts and relics is a criminal offence.

“…The city will not be intimidated into allowing those responsible to go unpunished,” said MayorRamokgopa. – SAnews.gov.za

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