The inscription of the name of National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni on the newly renovated tombstone of revered former uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) combatant Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu has provoked public outcry.
The renovated tombstone was unveiled by the NYDA in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, on Tuesday, as this year marks the 39th anniversary of the execution of Mahlangu by hanging. Mahlangu was a trained combatant of the African National Congress’s (ANC) armed wing.
The inscription reads: “Donated on behalf of the NYDA by executive chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni.”
Executive deputy chairperson of the agency Bavelile Hlongwa told Kaya FM on Tuesday that Mahlangu’s family had requested that Mtsweni’s name be engraved on the tombstone, adding the NYDA had since suggested to the family that the name be removed.
It was reported on Wednesday that the agency had since undertaken to have the name of its chairperson removed.
One of the critics of the inscription is EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu, who questioned why a benefactor would have their name inscribed on a tombstone, saying the act was a nauseating “desperation for relevance”.
Since when do Benefactors write their names on tombstones? How does a person who’s alive write their name on a tombstone? The desperation for relevance is nauseating. pic.twitter.com/PKkO7mOOSs
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) July 10, 2018
In a Facebook post late on Tuesday, Mtsweni noted the reaction from the public regarding the inclusion of his name on the tombstone, saying the entire inscription was done at the insistence of the Mahlangu family.
“I had earlier raised my own reservations about that, but there was an insistence by the family to recognise us for what we did for them,” Mtsweni wrote.
The agency’s chair stated he had ordered that his name should be removed from the tombstone, however, the NYDA’s logo would not be removed.
“I accept that many find this in bad taste and we apologize for this. This will be done immediately,” Mtsweni wrote.
Read the post below:
Here are more tweets criticising the agency for the inscription:
NYDA is as useless as the ANC, I would love to see someone who was fully funded by them. Yes 50k is stage 2 grant, you always have to jump through hoops before you can get something. Institutions like these needs to be closed down.
— anam xinwa (@mshotolo_inc) July 11, 2018
It's considerate of the NYDA to unveil the tombstone of the late Solomon Mahlangu but is it necessary for the NYDA's executive chairman's name, Sifiso Mtsweni to appear on the tombstone?I find it distasteful! @NYDARSA @ANCYLhq #SolomonMahlangu #SolomonKalushiMahlangu
— Vinny Alvin (@sir_AVB) July 11, 2018
Good that it will be removed -Re revamping the tombstone i support. The family allowed the NYDA to name "The Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund" without asking for any compensation that was during Yeshen time as Chair.was close to family during 1st phase they deserved @NYDARSA
— InnocentiaMphago (@jongalanga) July 11, 2018
— To Infinity and Beyoncé* ???? (@PearlPillay) July 11, 2018
Shouldn't #NYDA (Funded by Taxpayers money) be more concerned with guiding and steering the countries directionless Youth onto a more positive path…
Tombstones become their #1 priority. Pathetic https://t.co/ucrG2qeytu
— V.L Shadean (@VijayShadean) July 11, 2018