- Criticism has poured in for eThekwini Municipality after the announcement of an R20 million statue tender.
- People took to social media to voice their dismay at the steep price tag of the project in the face of economic difficulties and inadequate service delivery
- Thembinkosi Ngcobo commented that those who were against the project were those who ‘were most likely to benefit from a division in black communities’
The eThekwini Municipality has been receiving backlash after awarding a R20 million tender for two statues.
The statues will be of the struggle icons Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo and the tender has been awarded to artist Lungelo Gumede.
Gumede has enjoyed praise for work in the past, but people are questioning the wisdom of spending such a large amount on something some deem frivolous in the face of the current economic woes.
Previous work of Lungelo Gumede saw four bronze statues of ex-presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma as well as current president Cyril Ramaphosa.
According to The Sunday Tribune, these statues cost a mere R1.9 million. The reason behind the inflated costs of the upcoming artworks remains to be seen.
The R20 million price tag has been shocking news to many nationals, especially after reports that the value might increase by R14 million in order for the Municipality to make the project possible.
The criticism does not seem to deter the eThekwini head of parks Thembinkosi Ngcobo, who spoke to a eNCA reporter about the expected backlash for this project.
He had explained that the steep price tag would most likely be met with criticism, especially when a person considers the background of inadequate service delivery.
Ngcobo went on to say that he believed the statues would see an increase in unity among black people.
He also commented that people who were against the project were those who stood a chance of benefiting from a division in the nation’s black community.
“We as South Africans, more especially black people, we got our identity because of the historical episodes that we went through. The pains of the apartheid system defined us as a group, it forced us to belong together,” maintained Ngcobo.
“The triumph we had over the apartheid system also forced us to be together, and because of that we gained our identity and in politics, there is nothing more important in my view than the politics of identity. Whoever will oppose this is someone who is going to be benefiting if black people were to be less united than they are now, because obviously for them they will have some benefits out of those divisions.
“But for the black people, they should know that the more they talk about their struggles and also preserve the narratives of their struggles, they are more likely to remain united so there are more benefits for them”.
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