Parties condemn vandalism of Ghandi statue

POLITICAL parties have condemned the vandalism of a statue of lawyer and freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi.



The statue of Ghandi on the Ghandi Square bus terminal on Main street in the Johannesburg city centre. Picture: THE TIMES

On Monday, Sowetan and The Times reported that a man was arrested for hurling white paint on the statue, situated in the Johannesburg CBD, at the weekend.

The man is due to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday. Gandhi’s statue is the first to be vandalised in the city.

The incident follows the defacing of a statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town. The statue was removed last week.

It also follows reported incidents of vandalism of at Pretoria’s Church Square, where a statue of Paul Kruger was splashed with green paint. Other statues in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have also been spared.

African National Congress (ANC) spokesman Zizi Kodwa told BDlive that the ruling party condemned the vandalism of Gandhi’s statue.

“As we reconstruct a new identity, we need to agree on what represents our democratic values of a new SA. But naturally, you have elements of society who don’t agree with that agenda. There will be those elements in society which don’t agree with the democratic dispensation,” Mr Kodwa said.

He said the latest incident mirrored the vandalism of monuments commemorating former president Nelson Mandela and ANC stalwart Oliver Tambo.

Democratic Alliance (DA) spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme told BDlive that although Gandhi could be viewed differently by various people, South Africans needed to “operate within the law” if they wanted to have statues removed.

“It’s a real pity. Focusing on this (should) have given us an opportunity to talk about why life hasn’t really changed for the majority of South Africans after 20 years of democracy. Focusing on the statues is really a distraction and people are piggybacking on a cause, instead of discussing the real issues,” Ms van Damme said.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) secretary-general, Godrich Gardee told Sowetan that although the party supported the removal of “statues that represent white supremacy”, the statue of Gandhi should not be vandalised.

Last year, three people were arrested for burning a statue of Tambo in Nkantolo illage, in the Eastern Cape.