A cost of living crisis for WHO, we ask? Cyril Ramaphosa appears to find the idea of his government wasting R22 million on a flag hilarious, after the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture ended up back-tracking on their controversial proposals.
The R22 million flag project crashes and burns
The department had planned to erect a 120-metre flag at the Freedom Park Heritage site in Pretoria as a symbol of unity and democracy. The R22 million flag would have been funded by the taxpayer, and South Africans have overwhelmingly rejected the project.
Widespread criticism of the plans prompted Nathi Mthethwa to put it on hold, and a review of the decision has been made. He’d previously defended it, saying it was ‘an important part’ of his ministry’s mandate. But the pressure eventually saw the ANC buckle.
The timing of this frivolous spending plan could not have been worse. South Africans are still trying to get to grips with the cost of living crisis, as grocery shops, fuel prices, and the value of basic services all continue to skyrocket.
The joke is on us, Mr. Ramaphosa
And yet, our own President seems to think that this is a time for laughter. His bizarre tone may have struck a chord with the Black Business Council members in attendance – but the social media reaction has been fierce. Here’s what Ramaphosa told his audience on Thursday.
“We are a government that listens. Just like Minister Mthethwa listened about the flag! [laughter] – Mthethwa comes to me and asks when he can call me. I rang him back, and he says ‘this flag thing is wonderful, but our people are not happy with it’.”
“He then asks me, ‘should I cancel this thing’? [laughter] – we say this as a listening government. The minister was able to say yes, we will pull this thing. I agree the cost was way too high. But we can come back to it when our economy is flying.”Cyril Ramaphosa
You can watch Ramaphosa laughing at the R22 million flag here
Controversial erection: Ramaphosa mocks the public outrage
Two DA heavyweights have condemned Ramaphosa’s ‘tone-deaf’ response to the outcry. Leon Schreiber, the party’s Parliamentary Head, believes Ramaphosa is more amused by the public reaction, than he is concerned about wasteful expenditure.
Dean Macpherson, the Shadow Trade Minister, said the visuals of ‘a room full of rich people mocking the nation’s order’ goes far beyond a joke, and the opposition representative has warned that this saga will ‘all end in tears’.
“Everything is a joke to Ramaphosa, including peoples outrage at a R22 million flag. He and a room full of rich people are literally mocking the nations justified anger at the continued disconnect his government shows every single day. They will laugh until it all ends in tears.”Dean Macpherson