Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has defended a 100m-tall “monumental” flag worth R22 million and has sparked fresh debate over the project.
The ministry said it had R17 million for installation of flag estimated flag and R5m for geotechnical studies. She said the flag would serve as a national landmark and tourist attraction.
Mthethwa justified the project and its costs to eNCA this week, saying the project should be seen in the broader context of deepening social cohesion .
He said research by the ministry revealed that many citizens were unfamiliar with national symbols.
He said the flag could be seen from afar and will be lit at night because “Education needs to be like this going on day and night.”
Mthethwa added the project will create jobs in the construction and steel industries.
“The value will outlive us,” he said.
Some have echoed the minister’s statements, saying the flag will be a source of pride for the country. Others said the money would have been better sent elsewhere.
Mthethwa previously defended the project, saying it was part of his department’s mandate.
“It is the Ministry’s mandate to create monuments, among other things, and this flag is a monument to democracy and we make no secret of that,” said Mthethwa.
He said the flag is a national symbol.
“The national flag is one of our main symbols. We say it is important that we fly the flag as part of the transformation of the heritage landscape.”
The project has been criticized by the Congress of South African Trades Unions (Cosatu), who thought it was pointless and ridiculous.
Prosecutors said it was “the clearest indication yet that Minister Nathi Mthethwa is missing touch with the needs of South Africans”. span >
The EFF said the project was “a useless, fruitless and misguided waste of money rejected by all logical and rational persons people.”
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