By Thabo Monyela
PRETORIA- The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has for the past few weeks been widely criticized by the public for his department’s plan to erect a 100m-high monumental flag at the cost of R22 Million with taxpayers’ money.
After the ministry received an astronomical public spat, they announced on Thursday,19 May, that the under-fire minister had instructed his department to put the flag erection under review.
” Over the past few days, the minister of sport, arts and culture has followed and taken note of public discourse that has unfolded in respect of the envisaged monumental flag. The diversity of voices around this important heritage project are a welcome celebration of our country’s vibrant constitutional democracy and the freedoms that must be upheld beyond posterity.
In upholding this ethos and the inalienable rights of citizens to be heard, the minister of sport, arts and culture has directed his department to review the process related to the monumental flag in its totality“, the ministry said in a media statement.
However, on Thursday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address to the Black Business Council Summit said the panicking minister Mthethwa called him for advice on how to handle the country’s reaction to the R22M flag plan and he simply told him to cancel it.
In a video clip that is widely circulating on social media platforms, the laughing Ramaphosa said,
” Mthethwa comes to me and says, President, this flag thing, which is such a wonderful initiative, it seems our people are not happy with it, and I say, of course they are not happy with it, cancel this thing”.
Mthethwa initially defended his department’s decision stating that the planned R22 Million project was for raising the foundational principles of the country’s democracy as stipulated in the constitution.