SAMthethwa slammed for 'ignoring poor' with #flag project
─── 08:47 Wed, 18 May 2022
Trade union federation Cosatu has slammed Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa for ignoring poor South Africans by spending R22 million on a flag and has called for him to be fired.
Cosatu said Mthethwa was the worst-performing minister in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet.
The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture plans to erect the 120-metre flag at the Freedom Park Heritage site in Pretoria as a symbol of unity and democracy.
The installation of the flag will cost R17 million, while geotechnical studies will set it back another R5 million.
Speaking to 702, Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Palma said spending millions on a flag is outrageous.
“We find the entire thing ridiculous to be honest. We are talking about a country here that is struggling. People are sleeping under bridges, people go to bed hungry. Plus or minus 16 million South Africans are struggling to get three meals a day and to hear that so much money is being spent and no one has ever been confronted about this flag, we have enough tourist attractions in this country.”
Palma said National Treasury should be aware that if the erection of the flag goes ahead they will also be responsible.
Despite the outrage, Mthethwa has defended the department’s plans to spend R22 million on the national monumental flag project.
While delivering his budget during Parliament’s mini plenary vote, Mthethwa responded to Freedom Front Plus (FF+) MP Heloïse Denner’s accusation that the department was misplacing its priorities.
“Denner wants to trivialise the flag. No, it’s the mandate of the department to create among other things monuments and this flag is a monument for democracy in this country and we make no bones about that,” Mthethwa said.
Mthethwa further justified his case for the exorbitantly priced flag, citing AfriForum’s legal battle relating to the apartheid-era flag.
AfriForum is seeking to set aside the Equality Court’s 2019 ruling that declared the “gratuitous displays” of the flag, in public and private spaces, hate speech.