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EDITORIAL | A R22m flag won’t improve patriotism, it’s a ...

Ideas

EDITORIAL | A R22m flag won’t improve patriotism, it’s a monument to madness

Giant flag proposal shows that the department cares very little about sport, arts and culture

Editorial

The department of sport, arts and culture has made the news for all the wrong reasons again. In its annual performance plan for 2022/2023 (https://static.pmg.org.za/amended_DSAC_APP_2022-2023_v15.pdf?_ga=2.246309060.1540955641.1652083145-185223419.1647442427), it shared a ludicrous plan, apparently aimed at solving South Africans’ supposed lack of appreciation for their national symbols. It had budgeted no less than R22m to install a “monumental” flag, 100m in height, to serve as a national landmark and tourist destination. 

The document, drafted by arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa’s department, argues there “seems to be a lack of appreciation or knowledge of national symbols in some quarters of the country”. So, as part of promoting national symbols, “and in keeping with our vision to inculcate love, passion and appreciation of this potent national symbol, the department has embarked on a process to conceptualise, design and ultimately install a national monumental flag”. A feasibility study had already been undertaken in 2020/2021, to inform the brief for the flag.

The costs are staggering: “R5m is budgeted in 2022/23 for the site-specific geotechnical studies including the environmental impact assessment and other tests and applications that will be required prior to construction. In 2023/24 R17m is allocated for the installation of the monumental flag.”..

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