There were calls yesterday to remove the Queen Victoria statue in the Port Elizabeth city centre and replace it with a massive sculpture of Nelson Mandela.
While a Madiba statue has long been touted in a myriad proposed guises, the replacement of the British monarch’s effigy with that of the metro’s iconic namesake is what the EFF was proposing yesterday.
This comes as plans for the long-mooted Mandela statue gain traction.
The economic development, tourism and agriculture portfolio committee yesterday approved the city’s request that R500 000 be set aside for the statue design and business plan.
It is, however, subject to the approval of the full council.
The EFF, which spearheaded the campaign three years ago for the removal of all colonial statues in the country, said yesterday it wanted the Mandela statue to be positioned in front of the Main Library, near the City Hall.
“We appreciate the statue that is going to be built of Nelson Mandela,” EFF councillor Thozama Tshanga said.
“I would love to know where the statue [will] be situated.
“Are we removing Victoria and replacing it with Tat’Mandela? Because if that is the case, it would be very much appreciated.
“We hope it is noted that the EFF is suggesting that we remove Victoria and replace it with Tat’Mandela,” she said.
But portfolio chairman councillor Andrew Whitfield said it was premature to discuss the location at this stage.
“This is the beginning of the process. An item was sent to the council seeking the council’s approval to pursue this particular item; it doesn’t describe where the particular location is.
“I can’t tell you where the location will be or whether any other statue will be replaced with Mandela,” Whitfield said.
ANC councillor Yolisa Pali questioned why the city needed half-a-million rand for a business plan.
“Is this for the business plan or for the statue? It is a bit too much,” Pali said.
Whitfield said: “There is R500 000 available, not that R500 000 will be spent. But it is what is available to ensure the business plan for the statue.
“It will certainly cost more to develop the statue . . . we want to make sure [it] represents or reflects the stature of the man we are celebrating.”
In a report to the committee, executive director Anele Qaba said the development of the statue designs would be done through open competition.
“The competition process will allow interested individuals, organisations, associations and other community structures in Nelson Mandela Bay to enter into competition to design the [Mandela] statue/ monument whereby a prize is awarded [for] best design.”
Two committees would be set up to run the competition and adjudicate the designs submitted, Qaba said.
The municipality wants the Mandela Bay Development Agency to drive the project.
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