City Hall statue of Pre­to­rius is de­faced

Pretoria News - - NEWS - SAKHILE ND­LAZI

“NO statue is safe any more.”

Th­ese were the words ut­tered by a by­stander next to the Marthi­nus Wes­sel Pre­to­rius statue at the Tsh­wane City Hall af­ter it was van­dalised on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

This is the lat­est in a se­ries of colo­nial stat­ues to be van­dalised.

Red paint was splashed on the statue of Pre­to­rius, the first pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of South Africa and the founder of Pre­to­ria.

Spec­u­la­tion points to the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters (EFF) be­ing at the cen­tre of this act, but no one has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity yet. How­ever, ar­rests have been made.

This comes af­ter EFF party spokesman Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi called on the City of Tsh­wane to re­move colo­nial stat­ues and also claim­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for de­fac­ing the Paul Kruger statue.

“Yes, the EFF in Tsh­wane has taken re­spon­si­bil­ity for it,” said Nd­lozi, re­fer­ring to Paul Kruger.

City of Tsh­wane spokesman Bless­ing Manale said the City Hall in­ci­dent has shocked the city.

“Our mes­sage to the public is con­sis­tent with what we have been say­ing, that the mayor has opened up space for dia­logue and we should use that. And about how best do we dis­pose of th­ese her­itage re­sources that are in our city. And we be­lieve that they should abide by the law,” said Manale.

On Satur­day morn­ing EFF sup­port­ers protested at Church Square, de­mand­ing the re­moval of the statue of Paul Kruger, af­ter one of the burghers and part of the base were de­faced with green paint last week.

The chant­ing sup­port­ers also threat­ened to re­move street names of all colo­nial lead­ers. They burnt old South African flags and held plac­ards read­ing: “Paul Kruger se gat” and “Re­move the an­ces­tors of apartheid”.

The statue of Paul Kruger has been cor­doned off with barbed wire.

EFF lead­ers have ac­cused the ANC of pro­tect­ing Afrikan­ers by re­fus­ing to re­move the colo­nial sculp­ture.

EFF Tsh­wane re­gional chair­man Benjamin Disoloane said they want to put more pres­sure on the City of Tsh­wane to re­move Kruger’s statue with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

“We are here as mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to make sure we can of­fer free man­power for re­moval of this statue of Paul Kruger. They are go­ing to re­move it. We are quite sure of that be­cause it is some­thing they also want to do. But we are putting more pres­sure on them.”

Nu­mer­ous Tsh­wane metro po­lice of­fi­cers and mem­bers of the po­lice tac­ti­cal re­sponse team were sta­tioned at Church Square.

EFF mem­bers were later dis­persed by the po­lice.

“The city will con­tinue with its in­creased se­cu­rity at th­ese strate­gic her­itage lo­ca­tions, and, in co-op­er­a­tion with the SAPS and other se­cu­rity agen­cies, en­sure all th­ese fa­cil­i­ties are safe and se­cure,” added Manale.

“We can con­firm nu­mer­ous ar­rests in re­la­tion to both mat­ters and the sus­pects will be ap­pear­ing in court soon,” said Tsh­wane Metro Po­lice spokesman Isaac Ma­hamba.

A group of peo­ple wear­ing ANC caps brazenly de­faced a statue of Ma­hatma Gandhi op­po­site the party’s Joburg of­fices in Gandhi Square, Joburg, yes­ter­day.


Mem­bers of the EFF gath­ered at Church Square in Pre­to­ria to de­mand the re­moval of Paul Kruger’s statue.


A painted statue of Mart­i­nus Wes­sel Pre­to­rius at the Pre­to­ria City Hall.

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