EFF to remove Pretoria’s statues

The statue of former president Paul Kruger was erected at Church Square in 1855. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi.

The statue of former president Paul Kruger was erected at Church Square in 1855. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi.

Published Apr 4, 2015


Pretoria – Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will destroy statues of “all icons of apartheid” in Pretoria, including the giant effigy of Paul Kruger at the Church Square at the city centre, the party’s Tshwane deputy chairperson Moafrika Mabongwana said on Saturday.

“The fact that these statues, which are symbols of white supremacy, are still found in this city is a crime against our people. We are going to remove everything that represents apartheid and white supremacy from this city,” said Mabongwana.

“We believe that those statues don’t represent the hue of our society. We are not going to seek anyone’s permission, we do not need it.”

Hundreds of people congregate at Church Square daily.

The numbers of people increases significantly on holidays and weekends.

People of different races take turns to have photographs taken at the Paul Kruger statue.

Known popularly as “Oom Paul”, the Paul Kruger statue is mounted metres-high on a huge pedestal guarded between giant bronze figures of sentries holding rifles.

Mabongwana said due to “lack of education” most people were unknowingly embracing the figures of people who oppressed their forefathers.

“Our people are just not educated about the statues and what they represent. How does a black person embrace such a figure? By destroying the statues, we will be educating our people,” he said.

Mabongwana said that after destroying the statues, EFF members would proceed to hand themselves over to police.

On Saturday, some tourists were taking photographs of the statue.

They were joined by several Pretoria residents.

Some were taking “selfies” while leaning on the sentries.

Sherry Ntabeni said she was not concerned about “Oom Paul’s” apartheid history because South Africans had forgiven their past oppressors.

“I do know history. Paul Kruger was one of our major oppressors, but the gospel today is that we forgive one another. Holding on to the past is not going to help anyone,” she said.

“My kids enjoy playing in this park and I can’t deny them. The efforts we are putting on statues could be spent on improving service delivery.”

Ntabeni brought her two young children to play in the park.

The street leading into the Church Square is named Paul Kruger.

Davison Zwane said the Tshwane municipality should remove the statues installed during apartheid.

“I feel insulted as a black person, every time I drive along Paul Kruger Street. The EFF is right. The ANC-led municipality should have taken decisive action ages ago. I would assist in destroying the Paul Kruger statue,” he said. - African News Agency

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