Mayor Ben Fihla condemns vandalising of Nelson Mandela Bay statues

APRIL 8, 2015

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Benson Fihla, who is at the 2015 World Congress of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI Africa), on Wednesday "strongly" denounced the willful targeting of historical statues by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Nelson Mandela Bay region.

Last week members of the EFF burnt the Anglo Boer war memorial in Uitenhage and this week targeted the Horse Memorial in Port Elizabeth - however, the EFF in the Eastern Cape, while applauding the vandalising of the Horse Memorial, distanced itself from the action.

Mayor Fihla, a staunch advocate for heritage preservation and a seasoned statesman, is attending ICLEI Africa in Seoul, South Korea from 8 to 12 April to acquire practical solutions for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in terms of environmental sustainability from a global and local perspective, the NMBM said.

“I am shocked to hear that two heritage sites were vandalized as part of a deliberate political campaign in our city. Such campaigns should be denounced in the strongest terms as we live in a democratic South Africa in which all of us have the right to raise issues of concern.

“These actions remind me of a time when my comrades and I fought against Apartheid and we had no other choice as we fought for a democratic, free, non-racist and prosperous South Africa.

"Political freedom has been achieved and as a result the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will follow the appropriate procedures when we receive sober discussions and suggestions regarding the heritage sites or name changes in our city.

“I am glad that we now have increased security at all our memorial sites and I would like to once again welcome residents to officially interact with the municipality if they have suggestions.

 “We now more than ever before must be reminded that we need to actively work towards social cohesion, unity and to build a city that belongsto all who live in it,” Mayor Fihla said.

Mayor Fihla is the leader of a delegation of three to the important event hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and served years on Robben Island, under house arrest and is considered a legend as he represents a generation of brave men and women.