Congress of the People wants to know where President Zuma and Minister Nathi Mthetwa are bunkered as the dispute around the statue of Rhodes and others spirals into a country-wide semi-conflict which threatens to open wounds of the past.
The deafening silence of President Zuma as well as his Minister of Arts and Culture on the matter of the statues, of a previous time, is a cause of very serious concern.
Congress of the People is afraid that this issue can lead to un-intended consequences. Sooner or later there is going to be a head on confrontation between those who want to protect the statues and those who insist on the removal of the statues. Cope believes that it is very irresponsible of the Head of State to go into hiding in a time when a nation is divided into two.
The situation is very explosive and needs cool heads to defuse it. More especially, it needs the decisive intervention of the Head of State. Cope reiterates its view that the only way to address the issue is to involve all interested parties in a dialogue.
Cope calls upon all the people of the country to support the view advanced by Judge Albie Sachs which we support strongly to encourage everybody to sit down and discuss the future of the statues. The nation has witnessed the escalation from dispute to vandalism to active division.
The President must come out of hiding. In terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, Act 25 of 1999, it is the state which has the responsibility to protect and maintain all heritage sites. If the State plays this role responsibly and on time there will be no need for any group to chain itself to any statue or take any unilateral action.
The state must discharge its responsibility to all.
Dennis Bloem COPE spokesman
Issued by COPE

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