Ramaphosa orders Mthethwa to scrap R22m flag project

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa phoned him to seek counsel amid the backlash over the initiative which many South Africans rejected.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona) at the City Hall in Cape Town on 10 February 2022. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has instructed Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa to cancel the contentious R22 million flag project.

Ramaphosa said that Mthethwa phoned him to seek counsel amid the backlash over the initiative which many South Africans rejected.

Mthethwa had defended the move but in a slight about-turn on Thursday, announcing that it was to be reviewed.

The president told delegates at the Black Business Council summit on Thursday night that he decided that the initiative must be scrapped.

The plan, which was approved by Cabinet, raised the ire of South Africans, who described it as a "vanity project" in light of mass poverty and unemployment among other challenges.

"The government will make mistakes. The government will move slowly. The government will possibly implement wrong policies, sometimes it will not implement as it said it will do. Our task is to say 'government, come along, let's keep moving,'" the president said.

WATCH: ‘Cancel this thing’ - Ramaphosa snubs proposed R22 million flag