After criticism, Mthethwa says R22m flag project to be reviewed

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that he had taken note of the public discourse around the issue.

FILE: Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa at a media briefing on the coronavirus on 25 March 2020 in Pretoria. Picture: Eyewitness news

CAPE TOWN - Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa appears to be listening to the criticism over his contentious move to spend more than R20 million on a flag pole project.

Mthethwa said that he had taken note of the public discourse around the issue.

He said that the process would be reviewed.

Mthethwa's chief of staff, JP Louw: "Minister Nathi Mthethwa has followed and taken note of public discourse that has unfolded in respect of the envisaged monumental flag over the past few days. The diversity of voices around this important heritage project are welcomed as it speaks to our country's vibrant constitutional democracy and the freedoms that must be upheld beyond posterity."

"In upholding these ethos and the inalienable rights of citizens to be heard, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture has directed his department to review the process related to the monumental flag in its totality," the department said in a statement.

"The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is entrusted with the mandate to transform South Africa’s heritage landscape by building monuments, memorials, museums, changing colonial and apartheid names as well as the overarching injunction heal the divisions of the past. It does so informed by national aspirations and international best practice which appreciates that heritage is among the bedrock of value systems that must drive national pride, social cohesiveness and unity. The World Heritage Convention makes the point that “cultural and natural heritage is not only an irreplaceable source of identity and inspiration, but also a key driving force for sustainable development,” it added.

The minister initially defended the move, though, saying that his department was entrusted with promoting social cohesion.

The minister believes that a R22 million flag pole to be erected at Freedom Park in Tshwane is a good idea in this regard.

It's sparked outrage, with many saying that it's a waste of taxpayers' money.