Statue wars heat up

07 April 2015 - 02:01 By Sipho Masombuka and Mkhululi Ndamase


The assault on Paul Kruger's statue in Pretoria's Church Square yesterday - with youths screaming for "this bastard" to be removed - has sparked racial tensions. "They should have painted all of it," said Lucas Thwala as members of AfriForum Youth, posing on the monument with a banner proclaiming "Ons gaan nerens nie" (We are going nowhere), were verbally assailed by EFF members.A Tshwane metro police officer watched as an EFF member yelled at AfriForum Youth members: "I am giving you one minute and then you must f*** off. We are going to remove this bastard."Two of the monument's four burgher sentries were painted lime green on Sunday afternoon.The police, who are using CCTV imagery to identify the culprits, are investigating a case of malicious damage to property.Eastern Cape's Uitenhage war memorial was torched last week.Attacks on statues were sparked by protests by University of Cape Town students who demanded the removal from the campus of Cecil John Rhodes' statue.Yesterday the EFF said it would intensify its "programme" and destroy two statues in Despatch, Eastern Cape, this week.It has called for the removal of Jan van Riebeeck's statue from Adderley Street, Cape Town.The EFF deputy chairman for Nelson Mandela Bay, Bo Madwara, criticised the government for using the police to protect statues."It doesn't serve any purpose to send the police to watch the statues instead of sending them to where people are being robbed ... where people are being raped and killed."Tshwane municipal spokesman Blessing Manale said metro police had been placed at the Voortrekker Monument, Freedom Park, the City Hall, the Union Buildings and Church Square, which were deemed at high risk of vandalism.He said that, although the vandalism was divisive, the city was considering the calls for the removal of the statues.AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said: "The state has an obligation to protect heritage monuments and we can start by putting up CCTV cameras to identify perpetrators and then punish them harshly."Nelson Mandela Bay ANC's Cheeky Makasi said: "Let's not be anarchists. The statues should be placed in a museum." SABC last night reported that EFF members had damaged a Port Elizabeth statue depicting the bravery of animals during the Anglo-Boer war. The statue, unveiled in 1905, depicts a horse drinking water from a bucket held by a soldier. It is called The Horse Memorial. More than 85 000 horses were shipped to South Africa in 1901 to help British soldiers in the war.

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