Madiba bust: Dali Tambo irritated by controversy

Dali Tambo said it's no scandal that his company, Koketso Growth, was given the contract.

A bronze bust of Nelson Mandela was unveiled outside Parliament on 28 April 2014. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Dali Tambo said he's irritated by the negative publicity which preceded the unveiling of a bust of former late president Nelson Mandela in Parliament yesterday.

His company, Koketso Growth, was awarded a closed tender to erect the bust at a cost of around R2.5 million.

Officials in Parliament were quick to respond to the controversy insisting there was nothing untoward about it.

Tambo said it's no scandal that his company was given the contract.

"We are the top company for doing this kind of thing and doing it in a hurry, we did a three months job in five weeks."

Parliament explained that due to time constraints, a decision was taken to give the tender to the company, which was also commissioned to erect a statue of Madiba at the Union Buildings in December.

Tambo added that his company has a wealth of experience in this field.

"We've done 50 sculptors of icons in this country, which is more than any other."

The bronze bust of the global icon is positioned on a granite plinth in front of the steps of the National Assembly building.

Furthermore, former president, FW de Klerk, welcomed President Jacob Zuma's public acknowledgement of his role in ending apartheid.

Zuma paid tribute to the statesman and Nobel peace prize laureate yesterday during the unveiling of the bust.

The president said it was through apartheid's last leader that negotiators were able to make the breakthrough paving the way for the first democratic elections.

De Klerk was appreciative.

"Those that I led made major concessions during the negotiations and so did the ANC. There has been a tendency to represent what happened in 1994 as a victory for the ruling party, that wasn't the position."

Mandela's grandson, Mandla, said the bust should be a reminder that the journey to democracy was about ordinary people.

"When people come here they should be able to appreciate that the journey to the struggle of our liberation was about the ordinary people."

Video: Madiba bronze bust unveiled.