Just two days after the Parliament unveiled the bust of the late former President Nelson Mandela, the bust was damaged and removed. ” The bust of former President Nelson Mandela, was slightly damaged early this morning (Wednesday) when a police vehicle reversed into it,” read a Parliament statement.
The Parliament decided to build a sculpture of the late President to honour him for his contribution in the struggle against apartheid and to celebrate the 20 years of democracy. Speaking at the unveiling on Monday, President Jacob Zuma said, “Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to install a bust or any symbol of Nelson Mandela in South African Parliament. Madiba was then regarded as a persona non grata by the regime and the establishment. Thus, there can be no better 20th anniversary gift for South Africans than to have this symbol of Madiba in parliament.”
Zuma praised the former apartheid President F.W De Klerk for his “pivotal role” that he played in bringing the abolishment of the old regime system in South Africa. “Through him we were able to make a breakthrough to create the conditions for our new democracy,” Zuma told hundreds of people who attended the event.
Speaking at the ceremony, Speaker of National Assembly Max Sisulu said, “Today, we assemble to celebrate a free and a beautifully diverse South Africa. We come together to celebrate new order, one that lays claim to the promise as stated in the Freedom Charter that “the people shall govern”.
Dali Tambo’s company was given the tender to build the 2.28m-high statue when placed on its plinth which costs R2.5 million. The bronze sculpture depicts the late President smiling.
DA Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko said, “The DA welcomes the bust of the former President and it will stand as a reminder of our democracy. It will also form part of the history that this parliament had a President like him (Nelson Mandela).”
Guests invited to the unveiling included Mandela family members, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, South Africa’s first democratically elected National Assembly Speaker Frene Ginwala, Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Provincial Premiers, Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille, members of the Diplomatic Corps and Civil Society organisations’ representatives.
The bust will be removed for repair and is expected to return tomorrow, Parliament said.