Sizwe Mchunu, MPP
DA KZN Leader / Spokesperson on the Premier’s Office
KWAZULU-NATAL taxpayers are set to cough up a whopping R6.4 million for two statues of Zulu King, Shaka, at the province’s major airport.
An earlier statue, erected at the airport in 2010 and later removed, allegedly after a public outcry over the way in which the Zulu King was depicted, was sculpted at a cost of R3.2 million. An August 2012 parliamentary reply from KZN Premier, Zweli Mkhize, to questions posed by the DA, reveals that the new statue, which is currently being completed, will cost a further R3.2 million. The parliamentary questions were submitted after attempts by the DA to establish these costs were thwarted during portfolio committee meetings.
It is difficult to comprehend how KZN’s government can condone spending R6.4million on statues given the massive challenges facing our province, particularly in education, housing and the health sector. This money could have built 21 classrooms. It could have built 71 RDP houses, including services and municipal input. It could have funded a state-of-the art clinic serving a population of at least 20 000 people – with R2million to spare.
While it is important to honour our history and commemorate leaders that form an integral part of our heritage, it should not be at the expense of our future. There are children in this province that are crammed into classrooms. There are families that do not have roofs over their heads. And there are many without access to quality health care. This is where provincial government’s priorities should lie.