Port Elizabeth – Video footage captured from CCTV cameras around the city centre show that a man, apparently acting alone, was responsible for throwing green paint on the Queen Victoria statue in Nelson Mandela Bay.
While Eastern Cape police spokesperson, Johan Rheeder, said police were still investigating and no suspects had been identified, sources have revealed that CCTV footage captured the entire incident.
The CCTV footage reportedly shows a white male, believed to be in his 30s, climbing out of a vehicle just after 23:00 on Thursday.
The man can then be seen approaching the statue of Queen Victoria and throwing paint at it.
He is believed to have then climbed back into the vehicle and driven off. The damage was apparently discovered later by guards on patrol and reported.
Sources close to the investigation say the CCTV footage has been handed over to the police forensics team, who are processing it to try and identify the suspect.
Municipal director of communications, Roland Williams, said the municipality was outraged at the blatant disregard for the rule of law and said that the statue would be cleaned by the municipality.
“A specialised service provider, who is an expert in working with marble, has been contracted and will commence work within two weeks,” he said.
“In the meantime, the statue will be covered by a tarpaulin.”
Williams said once under way, the clean-up operation would take a further two weeks to complete at a cost not exceeding R20 000.
Williams said that a charge had been laid with the police and that patrols and security around the various precincts of such monuments and statues had already been stepped up following the previous incidents.
He said the act of vandalism had taken place “during a break in the guarding of the statue.”
Williams said one of the options the municipality was looking into was to permanently station guards at the statues.
“Members of our safety and security portfolio have been discussing the options of 24/7 on site security and are getting quotes from our service providers, but this will be a costly exercise,” he said.
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