DA calls for Tutu statue to be fixed and protected

“Enclose the Desmond Tutu statue or remove it from the East London City Hall.”
This is what the DA in Buffalo City Metro has urged as a measure to prevent further vandalism of the statue.
DA caucus leader Terence Fritz has called on the Buffalo City Metro to enclose and fix the Archbishop Desmond Tutu statue at the East London City Hall.
DA caucus leader Terence Fritz has called on the Buffalo City Metro to enclose and fix the Archbishop Desmond Tutu statue at the East London City Hall.  Image: Supplied

The statue is now in a terrible state, with Tutu’s face and fingers badly vandalised.

Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation programme manager Razaan Bailey said: “We are naturally disappointed about the vandalism of a statue intended to commemorate the historic first hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, led by Archbishop Tutu, which took place in the East London City Hall.”

The call was made by DA caucus leader Terence Fritz during July’s last council meeting.

“The current state of the statue is so bad that you can’t even see that it’s the Arch’s face. It is becoming worse every day. We want the statue to be restored and enclosed.

They must lock it up, put glass around it or remove it if maintaining it is such a big problem.

“They must lock it up, put glass around it or remove it if maintaining it is such a big problem,” Fritz said.

“There is no plaque on the statue, only a clumsy painting that looks very unprofessional and our cry is ‘how do you claim to show respect to someone but continue to leave their statue in that state?’”

Fritz told the Dispatch on Friday: “BCM does not follow up with maintaining property, but we will follow this up because nobody is telling us who is responsible for this vandalism.

“There should be cameras at the city hall and security, but the vandalism continues and BCM does nothing,” Fritz said.

BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said plans were afoot to fix or replace the statue.

“We finally have an approved budget in place for the project and we are now in the process of going out to contract suitable service providers to restore the statue using material that will not wear away and be vandalised so easily.

“This will mean removing the statue and replacing or upgrading it and we have set time frames to finish this project in this financial year,” he said.

Asked about the security of the city hall, Ngwenya said as a heritage location, the city hall it was among the areas that will benefit from the CCTV cameras that are being installed in the city.

“We are optimistic that this will curb these acts. Over and above this, we have business plans in place towards controlling access within this vicinity,” Ngwenya said.

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