23/03/2017 20:08 SAST | Updated 23/03/2017 20:12 SAST

It Will Be Monumentally Difficult To Forget Zuma In North West

Zuma sculpture scrapped, monument planned instead. So that R6m for the statue won't be saved.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma
REUTERS/Rogan Ward
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma

The North West government has cancelled plans to erect a multi-million rand, life-sized sculpture of President Jacob Zuma, but intends to build a monument in his honour instead.

A notice appeared in a local newspaper on Thursday announcing that the provincial department of culture, arts and traditional affairs cancelled the R6 million tender for the statue.

It had commissioned bids for a six-metre-high bronze statue and a plaque at Groot Marico.

This was where Zuma was arrested in 1963, while he and 45 other Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) recruits were on their way to Zambia for military training.

In the advert, the department notifies bidders that the tender has been cancelled. No reasons are given.

"The department would like to thank all bidders that responded to the invitation to bid and apologises for any inconvenience caused," the advert reads.

Department spokesperson Shuping Sebolecwe told News24 on Thursday that there would be a new advert calling for proposals for a monument.

"There is no longer a need for the services but rather a need to build a monument. The budget that will be availed will be for the capture site of J Zuma. The advert has been retracted and the new advert calling for proposals will be issued in the next edition," Sebolecwe said.


Questions about the budget for the monument and reasons for the change of plans went unanswered.

The DA welcomed the decision to cancel the statue. It was a victory for the residents of the largely impoverished area who opposed it.

DA provincial leader Joe McGluwa however said he was unaware of the new plan to erect a monument and said the North West government would need to inform residents about this.

He said the decision to cancel the tender for a statue was a sign that Premier Supra Mahumapelo could bow to pressure, despite his initial insistence that the project would go ahead.

"He was very bold and said no one will stop him. He will go ahead and honour the president with a statue," McGluwa told News 24.

"We will oppose any plans to honour President Zuma. We can't honour a man with a legacy of unemployment and corruption."

The DA had proposed that the money for the statue should rather be spent on paying for an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate into the Marikana tragedy.

The North West government however said there were "monumental benefits" to having the statue constructed.

"Our children will through this statue know the selflessness of our struggle icons and the role they played in defeating apartheid and ushering in a democratic order," spokesperson Brian Setswambung said last month.