Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has directed his department to review the process related to the R22 million flag pole project that was meant to be erected at Freedom Park in Tshwane.
“Over the past few days, the Minister has followed and taken note of public discourse that has unfolded in respect of the envisaged Monumental Flag,” the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture said on Thursday.
The ministry said the diversity of voices around this important heritage project are a welcome celebration of the country’s vibrant constitutional democracy and the freedoms that must be upheld beyond posterity.
“It also bodes well for one of the pillars of social cohesion, which is an active citizenry. In upholding these ethos and the inalienable rights of citizens to be heard, the Minister has directed his department to review the process related to the Monumental Flag in its totality,” the ministry said.
The department is entrusted with the mandate to transform South Africa’s heritage landscape by building monuments, memorials, museums, changing colonial and apartheid landmark names, as well as the overarching injunction to heal the divisions of the past.
“It does so informed by national aspirations and international best practice, which appreciates that heritage is among the bedrock of value systems that must drive national pride, social cohesion and unity,” the ministry said.
The World Heritage Convention makes the point that “cultural and natural heritage is not only an irreplaceable source of identity and inspiration, but also a key driving force for sustainable development.”
In striving to transform the cultural and heritage landscape of a democratic society, the department said 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.
“As we pursue this path, it is hoped that discourse will reflect deeper around these factors,” the ministry said.