Mthethwa scores on goal on the controversial planned flag

TALK OF scoring own goal- yes pun intended.

The minister of sport, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa had to painfully explain to Parliament on the recent decision to design the controversial planned flag for R17m or so.

According to Mthethwa the monumental flag was an important part of ‘memorialising our democracy’, he told the Committee on Tuesday.

The flagpole would be 120m high and the flag itself would be 10m by 15m. It will be installed at the Freedom Park in Pretoria. 

But the country and some opposition parties are having none of it.

Democratic Alliance’s Tsepo Mhlongo said he supported nation building and social cohesion but the money could have been used for other things.  

“It could’ve been used to support theatre productions, independent museums or scholarships for artists. The minister is not in touch with what needs to be done to build South Africa.”  

The EFF’s Brian Madlingozi said the money should have been used to support struggling artists.  

According to some officials behind the project indicated, a feasibility study was carried out by Delta Built Environment Consultants and they were paid about R1.7-million, said Ndima.  

In the department’s 2022/23 annual performance plan, R5-million was budgeted for site-specific geotechnical studies, including an Environmental Impact Assessment, while in 2023/24, R17-million was allocated for the installation of the monumental flag. 

“There’s never been a situation where we are transforming spaces and people said it’s the right time or people said that the budget is right. People will tell us about schools and clinics, but our mandate is different,” said Mthethwa, in responding to another DA’s Veronica van Dyk question, who asked whether the department didn’t think it was insensitive to spend millions on a flag when South Africans were facing issues of unemployment and hunger.  

“Don’t you think this is poor judgement and that it will remind people of the ANC government’s insensitivity when people are in dire straits?”  

With poor sporting infrastructure, artists going home hungry and sport development not reaching its full capacity, the department and the minister have scored their own goal.

Image (Minister of sport Nathi Mthethwa scores own goal).

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