The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Tuesday said it, along with police and other security personnel, would patrol areas in the precinct containing historical statues and monuments.
This after an Anglo-Boer War memorial statue was dismantled in Port Elizabeth on Monday, for which the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has taken responsibility. Municipal spokesperson Roland Williams said the portion of the statue detached from the plymouth had been moved from the site and stored for safe keeping.“We do not want to give credence to hooliganism,” Williams added.
Speaking to The Citizen, provincial coordinator of the EFF Simcelile Rubela said the party had taken an organisational decision to deface and destroy historical monuments and statues across South Africa.
“We want to remove all colonial structures in order to rewrite our history. We want to remove these colonialist symbols and put out own heroes in their place,” he said.
Rubela said the toppling of the statue was not an isolated incident and that there were plans to carry out similar actions on statues and monuments in the future.
“It is an ongoing process and not a ‘one day international’. We will start with the statues and move on to other structures,” Rubela added.
This follows a recent spate of statues being defaced and vandalised across the country. Over the Easter weekend, the statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria’s Church Square was defaced while a war statue was set alight in Uitenhage last week.
Although it unclear as to who was behind the act in Uitenhage, it is believed to have been carried out by the EFF. However, Rubela could not confirm that the party was behind it.
“We do not condemn it but if it was our members who did it – well done!” Rubela added.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance on Tuesday described the EEF’s actions as political opportunism saying no political party should be allowed to destroy the nation’s history.
“The destruction of the horse memorial statue is an illustration of a society…that is ignorant of the facts behind the erection of these statues and memorials,” the party said in a statement.
The party also urged people in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area to reject calls for the destruction and eradication of historical monuments and statues.