The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has once again drawn attention to the Paul Kruger statue on Church Square in Pretoria, demanding that it be demolished and replaced with a statue to honour the late Winnie Madikizela Mandela.
EFF councillor in Pretoria, Moaferika Mabogoane, said that these demands have been made on the premise of removing apartheid symbols and statues being part of a national mandate of the EFF. These threats have come from the EFF before and the statue had to be fenced in to ward off vandals who defaced the statue back in 2015 when it was splashed with lime green paint. Days later the EFF admitted that their members had defaced the statue and the EFF chairperson at the time released a statement saying:“When they look at this statue of Paul Kruger, it frustrates them. We are offering to remove the statue because the city doesn’t have the budget."
Mabogoane also said the decision to still have some street names named after John Vorster, Hendrik Verwoerd and Paul Kruger was "unpleasant". "It is a shame that these dark figures of our ugly past continue to haunt us as we walk and drive on our roads," he reportedly said.
The chairperson of the South African Geographic Names Council, Johnny Mohlala, earlier this month said that the statue would remain however the Church Square would be going under a redevelopment process to add paving, seating, trees and space for other art pieces. The EFF reportedly brought a motion in the Tshwane council to exclude the monument from plans to modify Church Square into an open entertainment area by mayor Solly Msimanga. However their motion was denied in February with Msimanga saying that the statue would remain part of Church Square and the renovations would turn it into a "place where the colourful side of freedom of speech can be enjoyed and where it can contribute to public discourse in South Africa," News24 reported.
Malema opposed the renovations including the statue by saying: "It's not an exaggeration that the isolation of the people of Brandfort is best represented by the fact that her prison cell, which is house number 802 across the street from us is dilapidated, yet the statue of Paul Kruger decorated Church Square in Pretoria, receiving protection from a democratic government." Their renewed call to remove the statue comes three months after the party threatened to destroy the statue.
The EFF is threatening to take down any monuments that stay as a reminder of South Africa's dark past.