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City of Cape Town refutes claims of millions spent to light up Table Mountain for the Arch

On Sunday mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that every night this week, the City would light up Table Mountain and City Hall in purple. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency

On Sunday mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that every night this week, the City would light up Table Mountain and City Hall in purple. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency

Published Dec 29, 2021

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has refuted claims on social media that it is spending millions of rand to light up Table Mountain and City Hall in tribute to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who died on Sunday.

One Twitter user had said the purple lighting was costing the City R2.3 million a day and that the total cost would come to R42m by the end of the week.

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However, the City responded, saying: “The cost for the week for the lighting of City Hall and the mountain is R80 000. All budget spending is fully audited, and as with all City spending, will be made available to the public.”

On Sunday, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that every night this week, the City would light up Table Mountain and City Hall in purple, the colour worn by Anglican bishops to distinguish themselves from other clergy.

On Monday the provincial legislature followed suit, bathing its offices at 7 Wale Street, which also houses the Premier’s offices in purple lighting.

Speaker Masizole Mnqasela said in his message of condolences to the Tutu family that this had been done to honour Tutu’s life.

Legislature spokesperson James Retief said: “The purple lights on the building will be on from 8pm to 5am every day until Saturday morning.

“The lights are existing flood floodlights that have been fitted with purple gels that are on loan. The only cost associated with this exercise is the nominal cost of the electricity.“

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Meanwhile, messages of condolences continue to pour in from Tutu’s admirers.

Among the messages was one from King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, which said in part: “The Zulu Nation stands in solidarity to mourn this painful moment.”

Graça Machel said that as a Mozambican she could recall a time where the struggle against apartheid was epitomised by the faces and voices of three giants, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

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Others who sent messages of condolences included UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Al Jama-ah party leader Ganief Hendricks and the Federation of Unions of South Africa.

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Cape Argus

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