A statue of Nelson Mandela stands outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), near Paarl in Western Cape province. On Friday, the premier of Mpumalanga asked the MEC for arts and culture to fix a statue of the late former president that stands outside the provincial legislature in Mbombela. File picture: Finbarr O'Reilly/REUTERS.

WITBANK - Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni asked the member of the executive council (MEC) for arts and culture, Thandi Shongwe, to fix the statue of late former president, Nelson Mandela, so it resembles him, Mtshweni’s spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango said on Friday.

The statue was created and erected by the government outside the provincial legislature in Mbombela in September at a cost of R8.2 million.

Mncwango said Mtshweni noted a number of deficiencies shortly after the statue was officially unveiled.

“People have been voicing their displeasure on social media that the statue does not resemble the former president, and others have been telling the premier directly,” said Mncwango.

“The premier further asked honourable MEC Shongwe to enforce remedial action aimed at addressing the inconsistencies within 30 days. This is because the statue has failed in its intended objective to pay homage to the legacy of former president Nelson Mandela. The premier respects the opinions and the perceptions people have about the statue, and is calling for calm and patience as she is dealing with the matter."

Spokeswoman for the department of arts and culture Sibongile Nkosi on Friday confirmed the government spent R8.2 million on the statue.

“We are engaging the service provider and looking at the ways in which we can fix the statue. That money [R8.2 million] was not spent on the erection of the statue only, but on many other things including its design,” said Nkosi.

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 African News agency (ANA)