The eThekwini Municipality recently announced that two giant statues of world icons in the form of former President Nelson Mandela and erstwhile President of the ANC Oliver Tambo would be erected in Durban. While the municipality claimed that the statues would form a quintessential tourist attraction once unveiled later this year, the R20 million price tag of the venture was met with distain from opposing parties. A media briefing scheduled for 10 January was cancelled by the municipality and further details about the controversial statues have not been released. Tabloid Newspapers took to the streets to ask Durban residents if they supported the idea.

Omavathie Sawsunker
I think that the government must build more homes for people. A lot of people are homeless and the government should use the money to help them. My house burnt down five years ago and I tried so hard to apply for a house, but never got any help. While I think Lungelo Gumede, the sculptor that was mentioned in connection to the project, is a very good sculptor, R20 million is too much money to spend on such a project when there are homeless people who need help.

Njabulo Cele
I think that R20 million is too much money to spend on statues. I think the government should rather focus on creating jobs and building more houses. I wouldn’t enjoy looking at the statues myself, but maybe some people would appreciate them and visit Durban to see them.

Keagan Cloete
It is a waste of money, I think. There are so many other things the government could spend money on, the list goes on. Education is really important, I mean if they can’t even provide text books, how can they build statues? Infrastructure is another important area to focus on and so is power, considering the problems we are facing with load shedding. I haven’t heard of the sculptor and so I couldn’t say if he is deserving of so much money.

Mark Hutson
It is nice to remember and honour those who paved the way before us, but the government needs to sit down and consider the people. It’s a catch 22- while it is good to honour our heroes, where does that leave the people on the street? I live in a tin shack in Reservoir Hills and the municipality neglects maintenance. The living conditions and hygiene are so bad. They could do half half and spend some money on statues and pour some
funds into the community upliftment.

Shaun Balgobind
Why didn’t they leave the old statues that used to be at the beach front and then they would not need to build new statues. People have no money to live, they are living in tin shacks. Why not build houses for the people or go and give them food? There are so many things that could be
done to better use the money that will be spent on these statues.