The Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria is to be declared a national heritage site, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Monday.
The move was intended to “further evoke a spirit of nation-building and reconciliation”, she said at a governance and administration cluster briefing in Cape Town.
The Freedom Front Plus' arts and culture spokesman Corné Mulder welcomed the announcement, but said it was “a pity” it had not been made by President Jacob Zuma during his state-of-the-nation address, in which he had spoken about national reconciliation.
Dlamini-Zuma announced a number of other monuments and memorials that would be constructed or unveiled to “celebrate our heroes and heroines who led the liberation struggle”. These included the homes of Oliver Tambo in Nkantolo and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's in Brandfort. The graves of a number of struggle heroes would be restored and declared heritage sites.
The Voortrekker Monument would be declared a national heritage site next month. A Voortrekker Monument spokesman welcomed the move. He said it would not affect the independence of the Voortrekker Heritage Foundation, which runs the monument. He said it would “improve its protection status”, but could not say how much more funding, if any, would be received from the state.
Arts and culture department spokeswoman Lisa Combrinck could not immediately be reached for comment. – Sapa