Instead of buying a giant flag, R22 million can be used to boost the struggling arts and sports sector

Issued by Tsepo Mhlongo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture
11 May 2022 in News

Please find an attached soundbite by Tsepo Mhlongo MP 

The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture is reportedly on a mission to install 100-meter giant flag to the tune of R 22 million. This is the clearest indication yet that Minister Nathi Mthethwa is out of touch with the needs of South Africans.

According to Minister Mthethwa’s reasoning, the installing of this massive flag will somehow play a role in nation building and social cohesion.

While the DA is wholly supportive of this noble cause, we reject it being misused to excuse wasting  taxpayer’s money.

This giant flag project is nothing more than a decoration project and will do absolutely nothing for nation building or social cohesion. On the contrary, it is an insult to millions of struggling athletes and artists who have been receiving very little or no support from the Department after their lives and livelihoods were destroyed by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Since Minister Mthethwa has demonstrated that his department has funds to spend, the DA suggests diverting the funds from decorations and putting them towards the following:

  1. Support or sponsor local sporting events or theatre productions, particularly those that were cancelled due to lockdowns;
  2. A one-time donation to arts and cultural activities like school choir competitions;
  3. Assist in the restoration of historic museums that are on the verge of closure;
  4. One-time contribution to prize money in numerous sports, such as boxing and ultra-marathons; and
  5. Inject funds to pay artists who perform in music festivals.

If Minister Mthethwa is serious about social cohesion and nation building, he must recognise that the socio -economic challenges that South Africa faces will require far more than a few decorations to address.

The Minister and his department are administering the wrong antidote because they misdiagnosed the problem. Focusing on the problems that ordinary South Africans experience has a better chance of fostering social cohesion than flying flags. South Africans are already proud of their flag, but the actions of out-of-touch Ministers leave a lot to be desired.