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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

After public outcry, Nathi Mthethwa to review R22 million flag project

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture said Mthethwa noted the public outcry over the flag

Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa is reviewing the decision to erect a R22 million South African flag at Freedom Park.

In a statement, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture said Mthethwa has noted the public outcry over the envisaged flag.

The department said it is upholding the rights of citizens to be heard.

“The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture has directed his department to review the process related to the Monumental Flag in its totality.”

Government has faced a growing backlash over the multi-million-rand flag project.

The department said the diversity of voices around the heritage project are a “welcome celebration of the country’s vibrant constitutional democracy and the freedoms that must be upheld”.

“It also bodes well for one of the pillars of social cohesion which is an active citizenry,” the department added.

ALSO READ: Cosatu slams Mthethwa for ignoring poor with flag project, calls for him to be axed

Many South Africans were outraged by the cost of the flag.

The feasibility study is expected to cost the taxpayer R5 million while the installation of the 100-metre-long flag will cost R17 million.

Mthethwa initially defended the project as part of his department’s mandate to foster social cohesion.

Earlier, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) told The Citizen government’s plan to erect the R22 million South African flag is a waste of money.

“It sends a very strong signal that this government is still out of touch with its people, with the needs of its people, and it’s not thinking with a citizen centric hat on. It is thinking with a hat that says ‘where can we spend more money’ and possibly in a case like this at that cost, ‘how can we help other entities or organisations make money unnecessarily out of government.”

While the department said the erection of the flag will now be under review, it will continue to be driven by the pursuit of the socio-economic dividend for the country, as well as the historical, symbolic, spiritual and aesthetic values and identity of a democratic South Africa and its people.

ALSO READ: R22 million flag shows ‘government still out of touch with its people’ – Outa

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