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The aim of the flagpole project was to bring South Africans together, instead, it has caused widespread outrage as people react to the project that is estimated to cost taxpayers R22 million.

Mondli Gungubele, Minister in the Presidency, said Cabinet approved the erection of the flagpole at Freedom Park in Pretoria without knowing what the costs involved would be.

“It was not meant to tear us apart,” the Minister told News24.

He also said that Cabinet approved the project in February already and did not consider the costs.

“The financial issues were to be separate. Cabinet was not involved with that.”

Since the public outrage, Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture has “directed his department to review the process related to the monumental flag in its totality”.

Gungubele said that they appreciate Minister Mthethwa’s commitment to addressing public concerns and that they “will await the Minister’s explanation.”

News24 reports that Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Sports said the department reported that R1.7 million was spent on geotechnical studies so far.

“The committee was briefed on the concept on Tuesday, when the project was punted for its contribution (to) job creation and diversifying the South African heritage landscape; things which the committee noted,” the committee’s chairperson Beauty Dlulane said.

Image credit: The Citizen

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