03/05/2018 06:05 BST | Updated 03/05/2018 06:05 BST

EFF: Replace Paul Kruger Statue With Winnie

Despite a previous decision to keep the statue, the EFF is not backing down from its call to remove it.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Municipal workers clean a statue of Paul Kruger after it was vandalized with paint a few days ago, in Church Square, Pretoria, April 9, 2015.

Despite previous decisions that it should stay, the debate on the controversial statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria rages on, and the EFF has once again called for it to be demolished and replaced with one honouring the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The Pretoria News reported that EFF councillor in Pretoria, Moaferika Mabogoane, said this is part of a national mandate of the party to remove apartheid symbols and statues.

The EFF has promised to topple the statue before, and it has reportedly been fenced off to protect it from vandals.

Mabogoane reportedly said the decision to still have some street names bearing the names of John Vorster, Hendrik Verwoerd and Paul Kruger was "unpleasant".

"It is a shame that these dark figures of our ugly past continue to haunt us as we walk and drive on our roads," he reportedly said.

The EFF reportedly brought a motion in the Tshwane council to have the monument excluded from a plan by mayor Solly Msimanga to transform Church Square, where the monument is situated, into an open-air entertainment area.

The ANC reportedly opposed that motion, saying it would be "against the party policies on statues and heritage".

The EFF's call was rejected in February by the South African Geographic Names Council, which reportedly told Pretoria News at the time that Kruger's statue would remain in place. However, over time, it would be joined by other statues such as Kgosi Mampuru II, after whom the Pretoria prison is named.

At Madikizela-Mandela's funeral in April, EFF leader Julius Malema criticised government for failing to turn her home in Brandfort into a monument, but protecting statues of apartheid leaders.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), Malema said, "It's not an exaggeration that the isolation of the people of Brandfort is best represented by the fact that her prison cell, which is house number 802 across the street from us is dilapidated, yet the statue of Paul Kruger decorated Church Square in Pretoria, receiving protection from a democratic government."

In May last year, Msimanga said the Kruger statue would stay, as part of a plan to turn Church Square into a "place where the colourful side of freedom of speech can be enjoyed and where it can contribute to public discourse in South Africa," News24 reported.