South African flag
Photo: iStockPhoto / Derek Brumby

The DA has today submitted a petition signed by 32 000 South Africans opposing the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa’s giant flag project which they say is “wasteful”.

“The announcement of the R22 million project was followed by an immediate nation-wide uproar. And rightly so,” says Tsepo Mhlongo – DA Shadow Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture. “For nearly two years, the arts and culture sectors had to struggle to survive with limited support from the Minister. Many artists struggled to feed their families, while their cries for assistance largely fell on deaf ears.

“Only to find out that the Department had R22 million to waste on a giant glow-stick that the Minister planned to somehow keep alight despite rolling blackouts from Eskom.

“Had the Minister truly cared about the arts and culture sectors, the money would have been prioritised to stop the gaps at the many crumbling museums, galleries and heritage sites around the country.”

The DA says this petition symbolises South Africa’s universal anger at a Minister that refuses to engage with the ordinary people he is meant to serve.

“Minister Mthethwa’s statement that the flag would foster social cohesion was partly correct – rarely have South Africans been so single minded in calling for the immediate cancellation of the ludicrous project,” Mhlongo said in a statement on Friday. “The hatred for this astronomical waste of money was unanimous. It should serve as a wake-up call to government. South Africans deserve a caring government that puts their practical needs above empty ideology. R22 million could go a long way towards job creation in the arts and culture sectors.”