The Department for Sport, Arts and Culture’s plans to spend R22 million to install a ‘monumental’ flag more than 100m high drew mixed reactions online.
The ministry detailed its annual performance plan for 2022/2023 this week.
The government said it had R22 million to install the flag as part of their monumental national flag project and that the flag would serve as a national landmark and tourist attraction.
The installation of the flag will cost R17 million, while geotechnical studies will cost an additional R5 million will cost.< /p>
“The results of the feasibility study will be incorporated into the order for the monumental SA national flag. 2022/23 R5m is budgeted for the site specific geotechnical studies including environmental impact assessment and other testing and applications required prior to construction. In 2023/24, 17 million rand will be allocated for the installation of the monumental flag,” said the department.
According to In For the department, the flag will be a symbol of “nationality” and will have the potential to unite people as it becomes a symbol of unity and shared identity.
“The flag , as the country’s brand image, must be highly recognized by the citizens. Displaying a national flag as a monument of democracy goes a long way towards ensuring that it is held in high esteem by the citizens. This has the potential to unite people as it becomes a symbol of unity and shared identity.
“The project aims to contribute to nation building and social cohesion. During 2022/23 the project will be followed up in the operational plan and the completed feasibility study will point the way to the installation of a monumental flag.”
The DA and EFF expressed his dismay at the plan of the Ministry to spend millions of rand on purposes other than rebuilding the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic and the flooding in parts of the country.
“This is the so far clearest indication that Minister Nathi Mthethwa has lost touch with the needs of South Africans,”said the Public Prosecutor.
“This giant flag project is nothing more than a decoration project and will do absolutely nothing for nation building or social cohesion. On the contrary, it is an insult to millions of struggling athletes and artists who have received very little or no support from the department after their lives and livelihoods were shattered by the Covid-19 lockdown.”< /p>
The prosecution said that since Mthethwa has shown his department has funds available, they should redirect funds to:
- Support or sponsor local sporting events or theater productions, particularly those that have been canceled due to lockdown;
- A one-time donation towards arts and culture activities such as school choir competitions;
- Assist in the restoration of historical museums that are about to close;
- One-off contribution to prize money in numerous sports, such as boxing and ultramarathons ; and
- Raise funds to pay artists to perform at music festivals.
The EFF said plans to spend millions on a flag were a clear sign of a department not knowing what to do with its budget.
“This is a useless, fruitless and misguided waste of money that must be rejected by all logical and rational people,” the party said in a statement.
“Again, the ruling party has a misguided understanding of what it takes for SA to build social cohesion and inspire pride in the people of this country. A flag will not solve the deep-seated fractures in our society, rooted in the unequal distribution of wealth and the abject poverty of the people of Africa.
“Our people are unemployed, landless and victims of arrogant and unrepentant racism in their native country.”
On social media, many others criticized the monumental flag plan.
Here is a snapshot of some reactions:
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