Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters have admitted responsibility for defacing the statue of Paul Kruger in Church Square, Pretoria on Monday. The statue was reportedly doused with lime green paint and this was apparently done in an attempt to show the party’s displeasure at the existence of the statue of the people the party views as ‘murderers’.
This was confirmed by both the party’s spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Moafrika Mabongwana, the EFF deputy chairperson in Tshwane. Said Ndlozi, “Yes, the EFF in Tshwane has taken responsibility for it. The EFF in Tshwane has long launched a campaign where it has demonstrated, calling on the city to remove the statue with immediate effect and substitute it with a different statue or monument.”
Mabongwana, on the other hand, produced two contradictory statements. Initially, he had denied that his party members were involved in the defacing of the Paul Kruger statue but later on, he made an about turn and said that his party took responsibility for the action that had been taken on the statue. He said that he congratulated the members that had taken this action, adding that his party would stand by these members should they be taken to court for this action.
Speaking on Monday after the discovery of the defacing of the historical statue, the deputy chief executive officer of the lobby group, Afriforum, condemned the barbaric action and added that authorities must take the strongest possible action against the perpetrators of this act. Alana Bailey added that she commended the action taken by the Tshwane metro police and the Heritage Foundation for what they had done since the Kruger statue had been defaced on Sunday. She sounded a warning that the debate on statues and monuments could lead attention seekers to use it to get the spotlight on themselves while at the same time polarising society and communities.
Blessing Manale, the spokesperson for the Mayor of Tshwane, Kgosientso Ramokgopa said that the office of the mayor had already posted security guards around the statues in Church Square as an attempt to curb further unwarranted action by the elements responsible. He added that the mayor was away on holiday but, as soon as he got back to office on Tuesday, he would be going to Church Square to see for himself the damage that had be wrecked by the members of the EFF. Manala added that while they would be cleaning the statue on Tuesday, his office was considering cordoning the statue off so that people would not have close access. The office of the Mayor was also considering pressing charges against those responsible, Manala added.