Groot Marico residents are angry about the North West government’s plans to erect a six-metre statue of President Jacob Zuma in the area.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) want to tear the statue down as soon as it is erected. North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo says construction will go ahead.
Groot Marico is a tiny impoverished town between Zeerust and Swartregguns.
It is beset by abysmal service delivery, daily water shortages and sewerage spillages. In 1963, a young Jacob Zuma and a group of MK cadres were arrested in the area.
In a sea of poverty, the North West government wants to honour him.
“President Zuma is the second sitting president after President Mandela to have been arrested while he was on his way to exile. It is for this reason that the provincial government has deemed it fit to do so. He was arrested in 1963 near Groot Marico while he was on his way out,” says North West provincial spokesperson Brian Setswambung.
A R6 million tender has already been published.
Residents – most of whom are unemployed – are spitting mad.
“We are not at all happy about this statue. The statue will not help us. We need services,” says one of the residents.
The EFF has more radical plans. “As the EFF, we vow that as soon as that statue goes up, we are going to take it down,” says EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
Political analysts have questioned why a statue was being erected for a sitting President.
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo is unmoved. He says the statue is cast in stone.