President Jacob Zuma deserves no monument in his honour with the tarnished legacy that he leaves behind, including his alleged involvement in state capture.
That was the general consensus yesterday when a six-metre-tall monument to Zuma was unveiled in Groot Marico in North West. Protesting opposition parties were dispersed with stun grenades, rubber bullets and a water cannon.
The DA and EFF said the money used to build it could have been put to better use to ensure delivery of services. North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said the cost of building the monument on the site where Zuma had been arrested was under R2 million.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said Zuma should not have a monument dedicated to him as he was not worthy of the honour.
“Outa doesn’t believe Zuma requires any monument in his name.
“He will go down as a president that created much unease and discomfort, and reduced prosperity in South Africa due to poor leadership and his involvement in state capture,”said Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenhage.
“Monuments, in the time we find ourselves in where funds are so short that we have to borrow money to bail out SAA, should not be built.”
EFF North West provincial chairperson Betty Diale said they rejected the monument because “it was corruption by Premier Supra Mahumapelo to honour his corrupt friend, Zuma”.
“The people of Groot Marico continue to have no proper water and sanitation and no roads. Yet, Supra wants to honour a man who is facing so many charges of corruption. That man belongs in jail,” Diale said.
“We have our own heroes to honour here in North West.”
The EFF was met by a group from the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association who tried to block the entrance to the marquee, she added.
“We will continue to organise our fighters to fight this corruption. Our message is clear that Zuma and Supra must fall.
“They can shoot us, but we remain resolute that we don’t want Zuma’s statue or monument in this province.”
According to DA North West leader Joe McGluwa, the party’s activists who entered the premises got caught in the line of fire. They allegedly heard the premier order police to “surround them, surround them”, he claimed.
“This behaviour by the premier does not surprise the DA as the North West premier has long been one of Jacob Zuma’s trusted cronies, always ready to support and protect our corrupt president,” said McGluwa.
“The DA believes that the monument unveiled today is a monument to corruption and unemployment, as that is the only history that the monument will record in South Africa.
“This was confirmed in the door-to-door visits that we conducted in the area while the ANC dignitaries were lavishly catered for in air-conditioned tents.”
He said that only a kilometre from the monument, residents of Groot Marico had no running water.
“Due to a dysfunctional and neglected sanitation plant, the area is also experiencing severe sanitation problems.
“Just a stone’s throw from the monument, sewage is flowing into the river that children swim and play in.
“The DA believes that this monument is a slap in the face of every South African who is struggling to find a job, who suffers from the non-delivery of basic services and is affected by ANC corruption, mismanagement, the downgrading to junk status, poor economic growth and the looting of state resources.”
The DA has written to the provincial government requesting full disclosure of the cost of the monument.
Freedom Front Plus North West leader Michal Groenewald agreed with the DA and EFF on the matter. He too said residents sometimes had no water for up to three consecutive days.
“In March this year, the FF Plus welcomed the decision of the North West provincial government to withdraw the call for tenders for the erection of the Zuma monument and was surprised that the project was later slyly included in the provincial department of sport, arts and culture’s Greater Heritage Route.
“The borehole that accompanies the statue is preposterous and it certainly does not address the local community’s water problems.” – firstname.lastname@example.org