Diamond Fields Advertiser
Questions over city’s ‘R10m Madiba statue’
WHILE a 1.95 metre bronze Madiba statue was unveiled to citizens of Cape Town earlier this week, questions have been asked about Kimberley’s “R10 million” statue.
The DA said yesterday that the party would probe all expenditure on the Nelson Mandela Monument Precinct project after allegations that the Mandela Monument in Galeshewe, which is made up of little more than three poles and a head-and-shoulders cut-out of former president Nelson Mandela, cost government millions of rand.
“Recent reports claims that the ‘statue’, which clearly shouldn’t have cost more than a few thousand rand, cost R10 million,” DA city councillor Phillip Vorster said yesterday.
“While the DA cannot confirm the costs of the statue, we are aware that Sol Plaatje Municipality initially set aside an amount of R10 million for the project, which was to be seen as mayor Mangaliso Matika’s legacy project,” Vorster added.
“To date, the expenditure remains questionable and we are concerned about how the money has been allocated, as not much seems to have been developed by way of the project.”
Vorster added that during the next finance committee meeting he would request a complete financial breakdown of expenditure of all money allocated to the project since its inception.
“While the DA had initially hoped that we would not have to place the Nelson Mandela Monument Precinct project under scrutiny, out of respect to our former president, we would be doing him a dishonour to turn a blind eye to allegations of financial mismanagement related to the project.”
According to the budget of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, a total of R8 million was spent in the last financial year on new monuments in the city. This was R1 million more than the R7 million budgeted for in the 2017/18 financial year specifically for the erection of a Nelson Mandela statue.
In 2015, it was reported that Zuri Concepts and Projects, which was contracted by the municipality to create and facilitate the development of a monument precinct in honour of Mandela on a site identified in Galeshewe, had been paid more than R6 million.
In July last year, the Sol Plaatje Municipality again reaffirmed its commitment to the Nelson Mandela Monument Precinct planned for Galeshewe and various role-players, including Matika, the municipal manager, Goolam Akharwaray, and the project manager, Ntuthu Mogoje, did a walk through the area.
The centre of the proposed development, estimated to cost a total of R85 million, is at the traffic circle in Galeshewe.
According to the original plan, the precinct will include a massive sports facility, a Nelson Mandela Museum and a Mandela Square, a students residence and a youth centre, while the community hall, crèche and library will be upgraded.
Besides the Nelson Mandela Monument Precinct, the company was also asked to look at the development of other sites throughout the 31 Sol Plaatje municipal wards to honour and celebrate the contributions of local heroes in the struggle against apartheid.
The proposed site for the Mandela Monument project is located at the convergence of five main roads in Galeshewe, making it accessible from various directions. The main access roads to the site from the CBD are Nobengula Drive and Seochoareng Street.
Various role-players visited the existing, dilapidated crèche, which has been identified to be demolished and rebuilt as part of the project, and the existing library, which has been earmarked for significant technological upgrades, and the current informal trading area that will give traders a “formalised space” from where to sell their goods during the project.
Matika told the role-players that the project would ensure the upliftment of infrastructure and also the face of the city, which would in turn attract tourists and investors.
The Mandela statue in Cape Town, which takes pride of place at the town’s city hall on the same balcony where Madiba first addressed thousands of eager South Africans with the words: “Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans. I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all”, was unveiled at a ceremony attended by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and representatives of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, amongst others.
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson, Sello Matsie, referred media enquiries to the Office of the Mayor, which failed to respond.