The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) say they want the Paul Kruger statue in Tshwane (Pretoria) demolished and Church Square, where it is located, renamed to “represent the beauty of Africa”.
The red berets say they want a statue of the late anti-apartheid stalwart, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, to replace that of Kruger; and for Church Square to be renamed after the Mother of the Nation.
EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego said the red berets wanted the Paul Kruger statue to be removed urgently.
“The quicker we remove colonial figures the sooner we can deal with white supremacy. (If) anyone decides to remove that statue we would be very proud of them,” the EFF provincial chair said.
Mashego said the EFF first submitted a motion to the Tshwane council to have the Paul Kruger statue demolished and one of Madikizela-Mandela erected in its place late last year.
The EFF provincial chair said the red berets had expected that the process would be concluded within six months.
She said the cost of demolishing the statue of the 19th century Transvaal president and having it replaced with that of Madikizela-Mandela should not be a factor for the City of Tshwane. She argued that the city has spent a considerable amount to erect a fence around the existing statue, as well as spending much on acquiring the services of security personnel every time the EFF organised marches that began at Church Square.
Mashego said the call to fell the Paul Kruger statue was a national clarion call for the demolishing of statues of colonial figures across the country, which was first made by EFF leader Julius Malema during his maiden parliamentary address in 2014.
The removal of statues of colonial figures and renaming of buildings, streets and other civic structures is a significant part of transformation, Mashego added.
She said the presence of statues of colonial figures served as a painful reminder of the country’s past, while preserving the inferiority complex of the previously oppressed majority, which in turn contributed to social ills such as femicide, which Mashego indentified as a scourge for the country.