Is Minister Mthethwa throwing the management of the Afrikaanse Taalmonument under the bus?

Issued by Veronica van Dyk MP – DA Deputy Shadow Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture
03 Jun 2022 in News

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

The DA is concerned that Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa may be trying to throw the management of the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en -monument under the bus for acting on his instruction to remove Afrikaanse from the name of the Monument.

Following a public outcry and fierce resistance from the DA, Minister Mthethwa seems to be trying to change his tune in order to distance himself from the crisis his irresponsible instruction triggered.

According to a reply from Simion Nkanunu, Cabinet and Parliamentary Officer in the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture (DSAC), to the DA’s request to see the agreement between the Minister and the Afrikaanse Taalmonument regarding the proposal to remove Afrikaans from the name, “there is no agreement ever existed between the Minister and the Board of the Afrikaanse Taalmonument. [sic]”

Nkanunu further complained that “It is very much disturbing that the Department/Minister’s office continuously gets dragged into rumuors or unverified information…”

The suggestion that the Minister’s instruction to remove Afrikaans from the name is based on “rumours” directly contradicts an earlier statement issued by the Afrikaanse Taalmonument, which confirmed that Minister Mthethwa “on 10 March 2022 said in Pretoria that the ATM’s name must change. This was during the annual signing ceremony of the shareholder compact agreement between the department and all heads and chairs of the public entities that fall under his portfolio.”

It seems that the Minister did indeed order the Afrikaanse Taalmonument to change its name, which led to the consultation process that the Taalmonument has undertaken regarding the feasibility of a name change. Now that the public has strongly united alongside the DA in opposing this ludicrous proposal, the Minister is trying to shirk responsibility and accountability.

Following the embarrassing defeat of his vanity flag project of R22 million in the face of overwhelming public outrage, the Minister is clearly scared of facing the same backlash for this ludicrous idea to change the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum’s name.

Since the Minister denies ordering the Afrikaanse Taalmonument to change its name, the DA now calls on him to make a public statement reassuring the public and the management of the Taalmonument that no name change will be expected or enforced.