FF+: DA in late-night raid on Verwoed statue

Members of the Democratic Alliance (DA) removed a statue of the architect of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, from Meyerton in Midvaal, south of Gauteng, on Wednesday night, the FF Plus (FF+) claimed on Thursday morning.

“This action by the DA was calculated and happened at night, two weeks before the local government elections, to win over black votes in Midvaal,” said FF+ Gauteng leader Jaco Mulder in a statement.

“But the DA will have to explain this step to the mainly Afrikaner community of Midvaal, with whose mandate it runs the municipality.”

This showed that the DA “was no friend of the Afrikaner”, he added.

“The FF+ condemns this step because Dr Verwoerd was born in Heidelberg and had a historical connection with Meyerton and this step by the DA shows disrespect for a piece of the town’s heritage.”

The African National Congress on Wednesday criticised the continued “hoisting high” of Verwoerd’s bust in the DA-run Midvaal municipality as a “display of sheer arrogance”.

“[This] is yet another confirmation that the DA shares apartheid sentiments and philosophies, which for years racially polarised the South African society,” spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

The Sowetan on Tuesday quoted mayor Timothy Nast as saying that residents in Midvaal would be “very angry” if money was spent on removing the bust from outside the Meyerton municipal buildings in, instead of on improved services.

“Mr Nast’s insensitive comment … remains an insult to millions of South Africans who were on the receiving end of apartheid,” Mthembu charged.

‘Bloody skelm’
FF+ Plus Midvaal chairperson Corrie Pyper said on Thursday the DA had removed the bust during the night.

“You are bloody ‘skelm’ [cunning] when you do it like that,” said Pyper. “I was at home when I got this phone call saying they are removing the statue. At 10pm at night! When I got there, the whole council was standing there, looking at me as if I am ‘gemors‘ [rubbish].

“Ja, they weren’t happy to see me,” Pyper told the South African Press Association (Sapa).

He said he saw a truck being used to drive the bust of Verwoerd away.

“I’m not saying apartheid was right, but it is still part of our history.

“If you want to do something like this, you tell people: “Luister, ons gaan julle oom wegvat. Kom neem ‘n foto, kom stort ‘n traan.’ [Listen, we are going to remove your uncle. Come take a picture, come shed a tear.]”

The mayor of the DA-run Midvaal, in the south of Gauteng, was silent about the story on Thursday morning.

Nast’s personal assistant told Sapa on Thursday morning his office’s phone was ringing off the hook and promised that he would comment soon.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Gauteng said the statue deserved to be “thrown into the dustbin of history”. — Sapa

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