Date: 20 May 2022
President Cyril Ramaphosa says he met with Arts and Culture Minister nathi Mthethwa about the R22 million flag project and instructed him to scrap it.
On Thursday, the president addressed the Black Business Council's gala dinner.
The multi-million-rand flag has sparked a reaction against the government.
Mthethwa reportedly called Ramaphosa to inquire about "the flag."
"President, tell me when I can call you,' Mthethwa adds. 'Mthethwa, I'm in a cabinet committee meeting; we'll discuss it later,' I say.
"I phone him back, and he says to me, 'President, this flag thing, which is such a beautiful initiative, it appears our people are not happy with it,' to which I respond, 'Of course, they are not happy with it.' 'Cancel this,' urged Ramaphosa.
South Africa, according to Ramaphosa, has a government that pays attention to its people.
"We pay attention to what our constituents have to say." We don't trample on our people; instead, we listen, and Minister Mthethwa was able to say, "Yes, president, we will pull this off, but the cost was simply too great."
"It's a fantastic project," Ramaphosa said. "We'll pull it, shelve it, and come back to it when our economy is flying."
The cost of the flag infuriated many South Africans, who claimed that the money should be better spent aiding the needy.
The cost of the feasibility study is projected to be R5 million, while the cost of installing the 100-meter-long flag is expected to be R17 million.
Mthethwa defended the idea at first, claiming that it was part of his department's mission to promote social cohesion.
Cosatu, the South African trade union federation, criticized Mthethwa on Tuesday for spending R22 million on the flag while ignoring poor South Africans and demanded his dismissal.
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