South Africans react to OR Tambo statue: 'Can we build houses, healthcare and schools?'
South Africans have questioned the government's priorities amid an economic crisis and jobs bloodbath which have been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday unveiled the statue of Oliver Tambo erected at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Ramaphosa, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina and transport minister Fikile Mbalula were among government officials who attended the unveiling of the statue in Kempton Park. In the 9m tall bronze statue, Tambo is holding the Freedom Charter.
“No disrespect OR Tambo, but we need jobs, we need proper housing and infrastructure, but Ramaphosa is busy with statues that cost millions. I believe Tambo wouldn’t mind if these millions would have been used to save lives rather than him getting the statue,” wrote one Twitter user.
Ramaphosa said he was aware some people were not happy about the amount spent on the statue, saying “it is far, far minuscule” compared to sacrifices made by the ANC's longest-serving leader and the returns expected from the tourist attraction.
He said the statue was a fitting tribute to the struggle stalwart.
“OR Tambo was the architect of our freedom. Thanks to his activism, people living in distant lands got to know of our struggle and gladly joined it. It is, therefore, most fitting that this statue we have erected at the airport is going to be the gateway to the continent and to the world,” said Ramaphosa.
Some ANC critics were not pleased that the statue wears an ANC badge, saying Tambo would not have been proud to be associated with a party mired in allegations of corruption.
Ramaphosa said the statue will be “a major tourist attraction”.
“It is going to be a magnet and essential stop for visitors to the OR Tambo cultural precinct, which is doing so much to preserve the legacy of our great leader.”
These are some of the views shared on Twitter:
With so many problems that this country has Cyril's top priorities is to be changing OR Tambo's statue at the airport, people are unemployed, hungry and homeless.— Nkanyiso Ngqulunga (@Nkanyiso_ngqulu) October 27, 2020
Let them leave that ANC badge on the OR Tambo statue to show us that the ANC is part of our past.— Sharné Zoë (@Zoe_SZi) October 27, 2020
It is up to us to decide whether they will be part of our future.
Not to disrespect OR tambo but We need jobs, we need proper housing and infrastructure but rama is busy with statues that cost millions. I believe Tambo wouldn't mind if this millions would have been use to save lives than him getting statue #VoetsekRamaPhosa— Mr Hard Lockdown Level 5 (@keep1249) October 27, 2020
What will that multi million OR Tambo statue help us with?😩— Dumizulu Ka Nkwanyana 🇿🇦 (@LaDumezulu) October 27, 2020
Not ONE member of the Tambo family stood up to say, please don't waste so much money. Not in my grandfather's name. No. They just twanged their way to a third statue smack in the middle of an economic crisis. Voetsek! https://t.co/bPK41qJGYN— WildChildCapital (@tlhogikapital) October 28, 2020
That’s what happens when you elect idiot clowns like aboMbalula noCyril. Ppl are loosing jobs left right & centre due to your pandemic scam yet you are spending R13mln on statue. Comrade OR Tambo must be turning with disgust in his graves 🤮😡 https://t.co/NqnUi20ccY— King Shaka Of #IngonyamaTrust (@KingShaka79) October 27, 2020
Delighted about the statue honoring OR Tambo; a truly great human being. But can we move on now and build houses that stand, schools that work, and hospitals that care?!!— Jonathan Jansen (@JJ_Stellies) October 27, 2020
Perfect! Another statue of OR Tambo at the airport. Just what we need right now...😏 pic.twitter.com/Ka4HkBopvQ— Thabiso TT Tema (@ThabisoTema) October 27, 2020
I wonder of OR Tambo had to be alive today whether he would have removed that ANC badge on his jacket. Quite unfortunate that even with a statue that the ANC has to politicise everything and brand it with their logo. pic.twitter.com/m9eH1vBo5q— Renaldo "Ngamla" Gouws 🇿🇦 (@RenaldoGouws) October 27, 2020