Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has instructed Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa to cancel his R22 million Monumental Flag project.
Speaking at the Black Business Council dinner in Midrand, Ramaphosa stated that Mthethwa had called him lamenting the public outcry over what many have called a “vanity project” by the minister.
He said: “I said, of course, they are not happy, I said cancel this thing. Besides that, the cost was just too high. It’s a wonderful project, I said pull it, shelve it we will see it once our economy is flying”.
The proposed 100m high flag, would have been erected at the Freedom Park Memorial, in Pretoria.
In a statement issued by Minister Mthethwa on Thursday, there was no indication that the project would be scrapped. Rather the ministry stated that the project would be reviewed.
The statement in part read: “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.”
In the preceding days, Minister Mthethwa defended the project, insisting that would contribute to building a more cohesive society.
He said: “The issue of the monumental flag must be understood from a broader context of deepening social cohesion in our country.
“In the sense that, it is not an isolated flag, some years ago the department did research and the research findings is that the majority of people in South Africa are not familiar with national symbols.”
The project has divided opinion, causing a furore on social media platforms such as Twitter.
Media personalities such as Bonang Matheba called the minister “useless” and suggested that the minister did not know what he was doing.
You have no clue what you’re doing. Go away! @NathiMthethwaSA— Bonang Matheba 👑 (@Bonang) May 17, 2022
Conversely, broadcaster Penny Lebyane defended the Monumental Flag project pointing to monuments around the world as comparisons.
The Twitter community dragged her over the coals for her views.
In response to Lebyane sports broadcaster, Robert Marawa made it a point to highlight the plight of the youth in South Africa.
They were NOT flags!! They were NOT vanity projects in a struggling economy of mass youth unemployment caused by a thieving government!!— robertmarawa (@robertmarawa) May 18, 2022
Here's some leisure reading.👇🏾👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/Lculrj19w1