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Minister Nathi Mthethwa pushes flag project through parliamentary debate

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.Image: file

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.Image: file

Published Jul 25, 2022

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SIYABONGA SITHOLE

The R22 million monumental flag project by Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa is back.

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is disturbed by reports that Mthethwa is planning to go ahead with the project, which his department shelved following a public outcry in May.

The DA's head of sports, arts and culture, Tshepo Mhlongo, said he learnt of the plan to go ahead with the project during debate in parliament, following the minister's response to a question posed by the party.

"Despite the public uproar and a direct order from President Cyril Ramaphosa, the minister of sports, arts and culture has once again put his R22 million flag on the table," Mhlongo said in a statement.

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Mhlongo said Mthethwa had not learnt his lesson following the furore over the cost of the flag, and that the minister still believed wasting R22 million of taxpayers’ money would enhance "nation-building and social cohesion“.

"It is truly astounding the department of sports, arts and culture infrastructure unit can find no other worthwhile project to invest in. Under minister Mthethwa's watch numerous museums, art galleries and heritage sites are crumbling. The DA has communicated extensively about the shocking state of Freedom Park -the site for the proposed R22 million flag. Surely spending money to maintain and develop already established heritage sites would better promote ‘nation-building and social cohesion’,“ he said.

Mhlongo said the minister’s refusal to engage with the public and other stakeholders showed that he did not actually care about nation-building and social cohesion, contrary to his claim.

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"His poor treatment of the arts and culture sector during the pandemic exposed his callousness and this tone deaf waste of R22 million underscores it," Mhlongo added.

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