Heritage site to house SA’s historical statues

This comes just days after calls for the removal of the Paul Kruger statue from Church Square in Pretoria.

Paul Kruger statue, Church Square, Pretoria. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - The City of Tshwane says plans are under way to build a single national heritage site to house hundreds of South Africa's statues.

This comes just days after calls for the removal of the Paul Kruger statue from Church Square in Pretoria.

Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa has thrown his weight behind the ANC Youth League's call to relocate the statue.

WATCH: How long will Paul Kruger's statue stand?

The mayor believes the suggestion could contribute to debate around the identity of a post-apartheid capital city.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has vowed to remove the statue by force.

The construction of the heritage site is expected to start early next year.

Mayoral spokesperson Blessing Manyale, "The project was contextualised as the installation of in excess of 400 life size statues of South African struggle, historical, sporting and other luminaries and will anchor the national hero's anchors which will complete South Africa's heritage collection."

Meanwhile, Eastern Cape police say they are close to making an arrest in connection with the torching of a war memorial statue in Uitenhage.

EFF members have taken responsibility for setting the Anglo-Boer war statue alight on Thursday.

They also used a sledgehammer in an attempt to tear down the monument situated in Uitenhage Market Square but were prevented by police.

Police spokesman Basil Seekoei says a case of malicious damage to property is still under investigation.

"We obtained witness statements regarding the torching of the statue. An arrest is imminent in this regard."

The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) has weighed in on the debate around the removal of statues of colonial and apartheid leaders saying the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)'s call for the removal of a statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria is a crime and may incite violence.

The Freedom Front's Pieter Mulder, "The EFF at the moment is creating more problems and not solving any problems, with their sort of policy to destroy statues. If they think they are going to make South Africa a better place, they are making a big mistake, they are causing conflict, it's tit for tat and at the end of the day it's to no-one's use."

Mulder says he has written to Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramakgopa and other law enforcement officials to intervene after the party received threats of violence by Afrikaner nationalists in the city.

"There are people that say they are going to act on their own and they're going to protect Kruger with guns at the end of the day, Afrikaner people. So I sent a message to the mayor and asked him to really make sure from his side that the statue is protected. We don't want people at the end of the day, on their own, trying to solve this problem."

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