Port Elizabeth – The Economic Freedom Fighters in Nelson Mandela Bay have claimed responsibility for vandalising another memorial statue in the area, this time dismantling the horse memorial in Port Elizabeth.
EFF deputy chairperson for the Nelson Mandela Bay region, Bo Madwara, confirmed that the local chapter was behind the dismantling of the memorial.
The bronze statue of a kneeling soldier holding a bucket up for his horse to drink from was removed. The soldier was pulled off the base, and discarded on its side on the ground. The horse was still standing.
“The toppling of colonial statues is part of EFF’s signal, which indicates rejection of the economic system that has been imposed on us by foreigner settlers,” said Madwara.
Last week the EFF claimed responsibility for setting a war memorial statue in Uitenhage alight.
Madwara said the EFF’s actions were motivated by calls from EFF leadership to remove colonial statues.
“Zuma and Malema agreed in the SONA15 that these symbols of oppression must be removed and be placed elsewhere,” he said.
Following the vandalism, a 58-year-old man was detained and his car impounded by police, but Madwara said they had been able to negotiate the man’s release.
Humewood Police Station commander, Brigadier Ronald Koll, confirmed that the man had been detained, but had later been released pending further investigation.
“A group of individuals are believed to have been driving around in a car, and jumped out of the vehicle to damage the statue. The man was believed to have been the driver of the vehicle.”
Koll said police would follow up with witness statements and video footage they had in their possession. He said a case of malicious damage to property had been opened.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality have condemned the latest act of vandalism.
“This is ridiculous and unacceptable and will not be tolerated under any circumstances. The perpetrators must and will face the full force of the law. To that end we have been in contact with SAPS to make sure that they are brought to book because we cannot allow hooliganism and anarchy to continue for cheap political mileage,” said Director of Communications, Roland Williams.
“We live in a democracy and all government decisions and actions are based on the will of the people, indeed there are structures, processes and systems through which this will can be easily and readily expressed. There is absolutely no need for anyone to act outside of the democratic structures of governance that we have in place,” he said.
The Horse Memorial is a registered provincial heritage site, which was erected in memory of the horses that served and died during the Second South African War (previously known as Second Boer War). The memorial was unveiled on February 11, 1905.
The base of the memorial is inscribed:
THE GREATNESS OF A NATION
CONSISTS NOT SO MUCH UPON THE NUMBER OF ITS PEOPLE
OR THE EXTENT OF ITS TERRITORY
AS IN THE EXTENT AND JUSTICE OF ITS COMPASSION
ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION
IN RECOGNITION OF THE SERVICES OF THE GALLANT ANIMALS
WHICH PERISHED IN THE ANGLO BOER WAR 1899-1902
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