The flag is back: You have got to be kidding us

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

Please find attached soundbite by Tsepo Mhlongo MP.

Despite public uproar and a direct order from President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has once again put his R22 million flag on the table.

In answer to a parliamentary question from the DA, the Minister revealed that the project “will be referred to Cabinet for further discussion and final decision.” Minister Mthethwa seems to have learned nothing from the anger the project almost unanimously elicited from South Africans. According to his reply, he still believes that wasting R22 million of taxpayer money on a flag would enhance “nation-building and social cohesion.”

When asked whether he plans to initiate a public participation process, the Minister stated that “the Infrastructure Unit is responsible for implementing various infrastructure projects. There is therefore no need for a public participation process to guide the Infrastructure Unit of the Department on the re-allocation of funds to various projects.”

It is truly astounding the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture’s (DSAC) Infrastructure Unit can find no other worthwhile project to invest in. Under Minister Mthethwa’s watch numerous museums, art galleries and heritage sites are crumbling. The DA has communicated extensively about the shocking state of Freedom Park – the site for the proposed R22 million flag. Surely spending the money to maintain and develop already established heritage sites would better promote “nation-building and social cohesion.”

That the Minister is refusing to engage with the public and stakeholders on this, shows he does not care about “nation-building and social cohesion”. His poor treatment of the arts and culture sectors during the pandemic exposed his callousness, and this tone-deaf waste of R22 million underscores it.