The unveiling of a monument to honour South African President Jacob Zuma at a site where he was captured by the apartheid security forces in Groot Marico, North West province has stirred an uproar.
Although it is unclear how much was spent on the monument, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) picketed at the site today where the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was unveiling the monument. The party claimed millions of rand had been spent.
The Heritage Site uses pictures to tell the story of President Zuma and 45 other activists who were intercepted by security police at Groot Marico in June 1963, leading to them serving prison terms on Robben Island.
Residents in the area have expressed anger over the development, saying it will not benefit the community.
DA has labelled the site “a monument of corruption and unemployment”, saying that is the only history that the monument will record in South Africa.
“Our country has been broken by Zuma’s Presidency. Nine million South Africans are unemployed, corruption is flourishing and the state has been captured by the cronies of the president’s. This is the real ‘capture’ that the ‘Jacob Zuma Capture Site Monument’ will record,” DA spokesperson Nicolize van der Walt, said.
Residents of Groot Marico said government could have focused more on developing their township before building a statue.
They said the unemployment rate among youth was high, infrastructure was in poor condition and there was a lack of basic services.
Resident Pastor Evans Magopolo said the government could have created farming cooperatives in an area where 80 per cent of the people were farm dwellers.
“We don’t have a primary school, water and jobs. We are going to see that statue every time but it will not help us with anything,” he said.
Another resident, Abey Sekgalo said their children struggled with school transport, but the government had not been of help.
“Our children use scholar transport that always breaks down.”