President Jacob Zuma Arrest Site unveiled in Groot Marico near Zeerust. The plague was officially opened by Zuma on Wednesday. Picture: Molaole Montsho/ANA

Groot Marico - A protest by opposition parties at the unveiling of Jacob Zuma Arrest Site in Groot Marico near Zeerust was squashed by the police on Wednesday. 

The police fired rubber bullets to disperse Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) members who had staged a protest claiming the monument was a waste of money.

"The DA believes that the monument that was unveiled today [Wednesday] is a monument of corruption and unemployment, as that is the only history that the monument will record in South Africa. This was confirmed in the door-to-door visits that we conducted in the area while the ANC dignitaries were lavishly catered for in the air-conditioned tents," said provincial leader Joe McGluwa.

"We were deeply saddened by the living conditions and the environment surrounding the huge and shiny monument. Only a kilometer from the monument, residents of Groot Marico have no running water."

He said the DA has written to the provincial government, requesting a full disclosure of the cost of this monument.

"We also asked for a detailed breakdown of the expenditure for the unveiling ceremony – including the busing in of the ANC’s 'rent-a-crowd', the hundreds of food parcels as well as the luxurious tents and catering. We are convinced that this money would have been much better spent on basic services to the poor and hungry residents of Groot-Marico."

He said the DA has great respect for the rich heritage of the country but, would never support the waste of state funds while many people still go to bed hungry every night.

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo said the provincial government would protect the right of opposition to protest.

"One of the the things revolutionaries like President Zuma fought for, was the right for individuals including opposition parties to have freedom of speech...we will make sure that as long as everything is done within the confine of the law. It is their right to say what they want to say," Mahumapelo said.

The Jacob Zuma Arrest Site in Groot was unveiled amid tight security. Access  was restricted and some road were no car zone.

At the giant tent pitched on a sport ground, closed circuit TV cameras were mounted near the stage and other one outside the tent.

The Jacob Zuma Arrest Site, forms part of the Groot Marico Liberation Heritage Site, the route used by liberation fighters to skip the country and went in exile

Africa News Agency