The City of Cape on Thursday has announced that it wants to install a life-size statue of former President Nelson Mandela at the City Hall as part of a major effort to revitalise the precinct, which also includes the Grand Parade.
Mandela, upon his release from prison in February 1990, made his first public address from the balcony of City Hall before tens of thousands of people gathered on the Grand Parade.
In a statement on Thursday, the City of Cape Town’s Naming and Nomination Committee said it had considered a report on the outcome of the public participation process about the proposed heritage project to commemorate the life and work of Madiba and others who were involved in South Africa’s transition to democracy. The proposed plan also includes a a permanent exhibition in City Hall.
Brett Herron, chairperson of the committee, said: “We have discussed the report and have recommended to the Executive Mayor that the City accept the donation of a life-size statue of the late former president, Nelson Mandela, from the Western Cape Government.
“Should the Mayor and full Council agree with the recommendation, the statue will be installed on the balcony at the City Hall where Madiba delivered his first public address after his release from prison on 11 February 1990,” he said.
Herron said the procurement of the proposed statue would be at no cost to Cape Town’s ratepayers. He added that the City of Cape Town had budgeted approximately R1,3 million for the operational costs, inclusive of the ongoing maintenance of the exhibition and statue, but said that this should be seen as an investment in the neglected area adjacent to Darling Street.
“All of us – be it jobseekers, artists, entrepreneurs, tourists or ordinary Capetonians – will share in the long-term benefits of uplifting and redeveloping these spaces,” said Herron.
According to the statement, the proposed project is a joint effort between the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government’s Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the Sport Department.
“City Hall and the Grand Parade have great potential as tourist attractions and could contribute significantly to local job creation and economic opportunities,” said Herron.
“Those who have recently visited the Grand Parade, in particular, will be aware of the challenges we face in keeping the area clean and attractive. Given its location next to the Castle and opposite City Hall, we now have the opportunity to turn this historic landmark into a prime cultural tourism destination,” said Herron.
“The memorialisation and permanent exhibition at the City Hall form part of the National Liberation Heritage Route,” Herron added.
Herron emphasized that the development of the Madiba legacy route was included in the Western Cape Government’s Project Khulisa, which aimed to add approximately 100,000 jobs to the local tourism sector.