Millions down the drain: Statues that failed to impress Mzansi

24 January 2019 - 11:23 By Cebelihle Bhengu
The statue of former president Thabo Mbeki sparked a public outcry.
The statue of former president Thabo Mbeki sparked a public outcry.
Image: Twitter/@zwelitom

eThekwini municipality in Durban is not backing down from plans to honour leaders by erecting statues.

Mayor Zandile Gumede announced on Tuesday that the city's preparations for the erection and unveiling of Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo statues were well under way. 

eThekwini municipality was heavily criticised by the public following a report by eNCA that the city was spending R20m on statues of struggle icons Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo.

When the news broke, the public questioned whether the city could not have better spent its money on speeding up service delivery. 

On Tuesday, IOL reported that Gumede said the statues would "change the face of the city."

Here are other statues that got people talking:

ANC struggle icons, Durban M4 Highway statues

Earlier this year, the public criticised the eight statues for bearing little resemblance to the ruling party's former leaders. The statues are the work of the same artist, Lungelo Gumede, who got the R20m tender. 

The man who was supposed to look like Thabo Mbeki caught the most attention, with the public fuming over millions spent on the statues. 

Mandela in Mpumalanga  

Just five months ago, the Mpumalanga provincial government came under fire for an expensive Nelson Mandela statue. The bronze statue, which marks the icon's centenary, cost the city R8.3m.

Mario Bruno, a bidder who lost this tender to Mideast Investment, said he had offered to design the statue for R2.8m. Various sculptors told the Sunday Times that the statue should have cost between R3m and R4m.

Zibonele Mncwango, spokesperson for the Mpumalanga premier, said the city was finalising an internal investigation into the matter. 

Nelson Mandela, United Nations

The cost of the UN's Nelson Mandela statue is not known but South Africans were unimpressed. The life-size statue was unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2018.

Comedian Trevor Noah shared his thoughts on The Daily Show. Ordinary South Africans took to Twitter to air their views. 

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