Two of the four bronze sentries beneath the statue of the Transvaal Republic president were covered in bright green paint, though the raised figure of Kruger was largely left untouched.
Tshwane mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said on Monday: “We can confirm that it has been painted green.”
Scores of Tshwane metro police officers have been deployed to the square in Pretoria CBD following the defacing of the statue.
“Nobody has claimed responsibility, so at this stage we don’t know if it was an opportunistic act or linked to the ANC Youth League’s call last week to remove the statue,” he added.
Following the call by the youth league, the Economic Freedom Fighters on Saturday vowed to destroy all statues in Pretoria depicting colonial and apartheid era leaders.
Jan Van Riebeeck must fall: he is situated in Adderley Street, Cape Town. pic.twitter.com/uO6ndfpLXl
— #RegisterToVoteEFF (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) April 6, 2015
On Monday morning, EFF national spokesman Mbuyseni Ndlozi posted a call on his Twitter account to remove the statue of Jan van Riebeeck in Cape Town, reading: “Jan van Riebeeck must fall: he is situated in Adderley Street, Cape Town.”
Ndlozi declined to comment on the defacing of Kruger’s statue but told ANA: “All these statues must go down. We need to craft a new symbolism to remember and commemorate the colonial and apartheid past that is not based only on icons of white supremacy like Jan van Riebeeck and Paul Kruger but shows freedom fighters, black and white, who opposed it.”
Several onlookers were at the scene in Church Square on Monday, using cellphones to take photographs.
Pretoria resident John Tengwa said the defacing was “disrespectful” to South Africa’s heritage.
“The perpetrators are destroying valuable history. I think this is done by misguided, misinformed politicians,” he said.
Kruger was the president of the South African Republic from 1883 to 1890. The statue was erected in Church Square in 1954 and unveiled by then Prime Minister DF Malan.
Afrikanerbond secretary Jan Bosman said: “It is with shock that the Afrikanerbond learned that the statue of Paul Kruger and the Boers were damaged with green paint by political vandals. It smacks of extreme political immaturity.
It leaves a bad taste and must be condemned.” Bosman continued: “It is regrettable that the cultural heritage of Afrikaners are treated in this way. No one’s history in South Africa should be treated this way.
It is increasingly clear that a careful and responsible conversation should be held with those who want to rewrite the history of the Afrikaner and others in this manner. The Afrikanerbonddeclares unequivocally that we accept all cultural heritages as an asset whichprovides deeper meaning to the rich diversity of our nation.”