eThekwini forks out R22m for giant Mandela and Tambo statues
The eThekwini municipality has confirmed the arrival of R22m giant statues of struggle icons Oliver Tambo and former president Nelson Mandela.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda made the announcement on Thursday during a post-budget approval press conference.
Kaunda’s statement comes after reports surfaced that the city had approved the budget for the creation of the two 9m-high statues.
The city came under heavy criticism when former mayor Zandile Gumede announced it was spending R20m to honour the freedom fighters in 2019.
When the news broke, the public questioned whether the city could not have better spent its money to speed up service delivery.
It was initially reported the statues were to be created by local artist Lungelo Gumede, but after outcry over the hefty price, an event to introduce him was indefinitely postponed.
It is not yet clear who was granted permission to construct the statues.
During the briefing, Kaunda said the statues would be erected along Church Walk in the Durban city centre.
“This project started in 2017 when the council took a resolution to transform the City Hall precinct by having statues of OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela along the Church Walk. However, the delivery of the statues was affected by the outbreak of Covid-19.
“So we are pleased that the statues have been delivered successfully and are kept in one of our storage facilities while we are concluding the process of installing them,” said Kaunda.
Kaunda defended the price, saying it was the cheapest figure compared with others who wanted almost the same price for only one statue.
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