Petition to protect Krugersdorp monuments

The Paardekraal Monument. Pic: Jacobus Myburgh/Krugersdorp News

The Paardekraal Monument. Pic: Jacobus Myburgh/Krugersdorp News

The fallout from countrywide ructions around the removal of statues from the colonial and apartheid eras has been felt in Krugersdorp, on Gauteng’s West Rand.

In the past few weeks, various protest actions have been organised after students at the University of Cape Town demanded that the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, a former prime minister of the erstwhile Cape Colony, be removed from campus. The statue was removed on Friday, Krugersdorp News reported.

Other historical statues and sites in places as far afield as Pretoria and Port Elizabeth were damaged and vandalised.

On Wednesday, several groups representing Afrikaner interests gathered on Church Square in Pretoria under the leadership of the Afrikaans singers Sunette Bridges and Steve Hormeyr, brandishing posters asking that their history and heritage sites be respected and left alone.

In Krugersdorp a group of people gathered at the Paardekraal Monument, where Amanda de Lange, a Freedom Front Plus councillor for Mogale City, handed a petition to Annie Setswalo-Moja, member of the mayoral committee for human settlements and rural development. Setswalo-Moja received the petition on behalf of Mogale City Mayor Koketso Calvin Seerane.

Emily Mathe, a member of the mayoral committee for social development and health, was also present.

The Paardekraal Monument originally was just a heap of stones laid by Boer citizens as part of a protest against British domination.

De Lange said Krugersdorp – which had been named after Paul Kruger, the president of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal) at the time of the Anglo-Boer War – has a rich Afrikaner history and traditions.

“That’s why it is important to prevent what has happened elsewhere in the country [to statues] from happening here. The municipality has up to now kept these heritage sites in very good condition,” she added.

The petition asked the municipality to continue protecting heritage areas through applying strict measures to ensure the city’s statues were protected against vandalism and damage. The municipality was also thanked for the trouble it had gone to up to now to preserve heritage sites and was asked to do everything in its power to keep the sites safe.

“Krugersdorp is a treasure trove of history, and it has to be preserved at all costs. The graves of people, black and white, who died in concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer War can be found here.”

– Caxton News Service

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