City Hall statue of Pretorius is defaced
“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.