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‘This is not an industry matter, it’s about economics’: Redi Tlhabi slams Penny Lebyane’s view on R22m flag

20 May 2022 - 10:30
Redi Tlhabi slammed Penny Lebyane's comparison of the R22m flag project to other monuments around the world.
Redi Tlhabi slammed Penny Lebyane's comparison of the R22m flag project to other monuments around the world.
Image: Redi Tlhabi

Veteran media personality Redi Tlhabi is the latest to slam Penny Lebyane's comparison of the department of sports, arts and culture's R22m flag project to other monuments around the world.

Tensions ran high this week after the department tried to justify its plans for the “monumental” flag.

The department explained that R17m would be spent on the flag and R5m for geotechnical studies. It said the flag would create jobs, promote tourism and be a national landmark.

Taking to Twitter, seasoned radio and TV presenter Penny asked how other monuments were built.

Replying to the tweet, Redi said the comparison was a reach by Penny.

“Are you comparing a flag to the Eiffel Tower? A flag to the Statue of Liberty? Are you drawing similarities between projects of strong economies and those of a poor economy, whose actions were taken during a pandemic? Number of tourists who pay to see ET vs income generated by [the] flag?” asked Redi.

She said one doesn't need to be in the arts industry to vehemently oppose the project.

“You just have to be a thinking citizen, rich or poor, young and old, black or white. This is not an 'industry' matter. It is about economics. Industry hates itself? Our government hates them more,” said Redi.

“You don't need to see a feasibility study to know R22m for this project, in these debilitating economic times, is wasteful. The countries you mention have numerous museums that are free for visitors. And activities for children all free. Do we have that?” she added.

Following the outrage and criticism by many, the department announced on Thursday the minister would review the process related to the flag in its totality.

“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 ministry said.

“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. It also bodes well for one of the pillars of social cohesion which is an active citizenry.

“In upholding these 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.”

Speaking at the Black Business Council gala dinner on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he told the minister to cancel the project.


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