Public urged to add their voices to proposals for Madiba statue

People have until Sunday May 21 to share their views on a proposal by the City of Cape Town to commemorate the life and work of the late President Nelson Mandela with a statue and exhibition at City Hall.

The proposed project forms part of the National Liberation Heritage Route, an initiative of the National Heritage Council and the National Department of Tourism.

The chairman of the City’s naming and nomination committee, Brett Herron, said: “The purpose of the public participation process is to engage with our residents about the intended memorialisation of Madiba at City Hall.

“I urge residents to please let us know their thoughts about this project.”

He said it was proposed that the statue be installed on the balcony at the City Hall where Madiba delivered his first public address after his release from the then Victor Verster Prison on February 11, 1990.

“It is opposite this balcony where approximately 50000 South Africans gathered on the Grand Parade on this historic day to celebrate Madiba’s release from prison after 27 years,” said Mr Herron.

It is furthermore proposed that the City fund a permanent exhibition at the City Hall, consisting of interpretive panels, audio-visual equipment, and interactive displays, to commemorate Madiba’s legacy and to honour the organisations and people who were involved in the liberation struggle, the events leading up to Mandela’s release, and the transition to democracy.

“The City Hall falls within the National Liberation Heritage Route, but little has been done to date to highlight the prominence of this landmark and the significant events that took place at City Hall in 1990.

“The purpose of the proposed permanent exhibition is to turn City Hall into a popular tourist attraction where visitors can visualise the events and have a full experience of our journey to democracy.

“Numerous people and organisations had a hand in one of our nation’s most historic moments and we want to honour them as well,”said Mr Herron.

The proposed project will be a joint effort between the City and the provincial Government’s Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the Sport Department.

The development of a Madiba legacy route formed part of Project Khulisa, which had the goal of adding up to 100 000 jobs to the tourism sector.

Provincial government has budgeted approximately R3.5 million for the funding of the memorial and the City approximately R1.3 million for the operational costs, inclusive of the ongoing maintenance of the exhibition and statue. Comments, input and recommendations may be submitted until May 21 by emailing transport.info@capetown.gov.za Post your comments to the Manager: Public Participation Unit, PO Box 298, Cape Town, 8000 or by visiting the City’s website at www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay