By: Natasha Archary
Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa has backtracked on the R22 million flag project following the severe backlash he’s received.
In a statement released on Thursday, 19 May, Mthethwa said the monumental flag initiative is now under review.
This comes after the department and Mthethwa himself was severely criticised by many celebrities, including Bonang Matheba.
Initially, Mthethwa justified the decision to move ahead with the ridiculous flag project, by saying it will unify the nation and be a major tourist attraction.
“One of the mandates of this department is to transform the heritage landscape among others, build museums, build monuments,” the minister said.
However, following negative public discourse on the project, Mthethwa says the project will be reviewed in its entirety.
“The diversity of voices around this important heritage project are a welcome celebration of our country’s vibrant constitutional democracy and the freedoms that must be upheld beyond posterity. It also bodes well for one of the pillars of social cohesion which is an active citizenry.”Nathi Mthethwa
The project was approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet on 24 February as part of the department’s mandate to promote nation-building and social cohesion.
Set to become a national landmark and tourist attraction, the flag will serve as an expression of identity and pride.
In its 2022/23 annual performance plan, the department said the monumental flag will be more than 100m tall.
To the average South African, this still doesn’t add up to the inconceivable R22 million budget that has been set aside to erect the flag.