Politics

EFF Condemns Department of Sports, Arts and Culture for Wasteful Expenditure on R22 Million Monument Flag

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Yesterday, the EFF released a statement calling out the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and its presiding Minister, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, for their intended expenditure of R22 million on a monument flag meant to symbolise and encourage “unity” and “social cohesion”. The political party asserts that the endeavour is a “useless” waste of taxpayer’s money that should rejected by all rational people.

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Recently, the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture revealed more information about the national monumental flag project it had initially announced in February of last year. According to the department, countries install monumental flags to express their identities and pride and South Africa’s reason for installing one is no different. The department maintained that “Rendering a national flag as a monument of democracy goes a long way in making it highly recognised by the citizens”, continuing, “This has the potential to unite people as it becomes a symbol of unity and common identity”.

The flag, which will be “more than 100 meters” tall, has been announced to have an overarching budget of R22 million in total. First, R5 million has been budgeted for the 2022/23 geotechnical site studies and then a whopping R17 million has been budgeted for the flag’s installation in the 2023/24 period.

These budget announcements have greatly ruffled the feathers of the EFF, who condemned as well as berated the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture – calling this project a “useless, fruitless and misguided use” of taxpayer’s money. In their statement, the EFF called the department out for “not [knowing] what to do with its budget”, arguing that Minister Mthethwa and his inner-ranks have resolved to facilitate a large-scale project out of “placing a stick into the ground and attaching a flag to it”.

The political party also disputes against the idea that the monumental flag will do anything constructive for “social cohesion”, as purported by the department. The party says, “The [ANC] has a misguided understanding of what is necessary in South Africa to build social cohesion and inspire the pride in the people of this country” they continue by saying, “A flag will not resolve the deep-seated fractures in our society, which are rooted in the unequal distribution of wealth and abject poverty of African people.”

The party also highlights a staggering irony surrounding the national monumental flag project – while the project is receiving an expansive and almost disproportionately high budget, many African citizens are still battling against abhorrent living conditions every day, as the statement says, “Our people are unemployed, landless and victims of unrepentant racism in the land of their birth.”

In their statement, the EFF implores the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture to abandon this “shameful flag project” and calls upon Minister Nathi Mthethwa to use the intended funds to “develop local sports, invest in women’s football or create long-lasting infrastructure for the creative industry, not this senseless attempt at social cohesion.”