Nothing to celebrate as our heritage is on a brink of collapse 

Heritage Month is symbolic as it is about celebrating our diverse cultures and reflecting on how far we have gone and achieved as a country.

Today, as we celebrate the actual Heritage Day, l can see many people dressed in their cultural regalia to demonstrate who we are and where we come from.

We must not forget where we come from as a country and where we are striving to go. Our beloved diverse country is on a brink of collapse, we can see with the current blackouts that we are experiencing as a country.

The fact that our country is collapsing is also seen through the state of Gauteng heritage sites which are in a terrible state even though there are millions of rands allocated annually for the maintenance and operationalisation of our heritage sites.

While we commemorate Heritage Day today, there is nothing to celebrate in Gauteng as several facilities worthy of preservation remain a shadow of their former selves.

As part of the DA Heritage Month Campaign, we have conducted oversight inspections of the following heritage monuments so far; O R Tambo Precinct in Ekurhuleni, Boipatong Monument and Youth Centre in Vanderbijlpark, Kagiso Memorial and Recreation Centre in Krugersdorp and Women’s living heritage monument in Tshwane

All these heritage monuments have similar challenges, they are not operational or not well maintained.

* The OR Tambo Cultural Precinct is on a brink of collapsing due to years of neglect by the previous ANC-led Ekurhuleni administration. The facility is unsuitable for human habitation as it poses a serious safety risk. The ceiling is damaged and falling off, walls have cracks, the exterior walls are also peeling off, and the ablution facilities are not functional.
* The Boipatong Monument and Youth Centre is still not operational and not benefitting the residents.
* The state-of-the-art Kagiso Memorial and Recreation Centre has been abandoned and left to crumble while residents suffer with no access to sporting facilities.
* Women’s living monument which was built at the cost of R200 million an since it was opened R78 million was spent on it yet the monument is not operational an poses a safety risk.

It is disappointing that there is a lack of progress from this current government with regards to ensuring that our heritage monuments are fully operational and are benefiting our residents.

Experience has shown that where there are delays in the completion of projects, there is a corrupt element involved.

This means that millions of taxpayer’s monies spent on the construction of these heritage monuments and the operational costs will go down the drain because they are still not functional. The longer these facilities remain unoccupied and not utilised the become vulnerable to vandalism and theft.

These heritage monuments have the potential of boosting local tourism and creating employment opportunities for their residents as well as empower them with the necessary skills to be able to earn a living.

This current government has been dragging its feet on getting our monuments fully operational. With these remaining one year and some months, we will continue to demand that this current government must reprioritise the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation’s (SACR) expenditure plans to ensure proper budget allocation, focusing on the core mandate of the department of providing universal access to sports and facilities.

The DA has plans on how to get our heritage monuments operational, come 2024 when a capable DA government is voted into power, we will do the following: conduct a forensic audit into the state of all our heritage monuments and reprioritise the budget to ensure that they are completed and fully operational. We will also tighten control and oversight roles to ensure that they are functioning accordingly and for the benefit of our residents.

As we leave here today we must as ambassadors and activists of the DA paint the length an breath Gauteng blue, cover every nook an corner of Gauteng, knock on every door an speak to every voter in Gauteng, register all eligible voters who are not registered and ensure that the DA wins Gauteng outright in 2024 in order for Gauteng residents to experience and feel what is the like to live in society characterised by values of freedom, freedom, Fairness and diversity.

For Gauteng Residents to live in corruption free province where services are rendered on a continuous an sustained basis.

Abandoned iconic Mamelodi Rondavels must be restored to preserve our heritage

The Mamelodi Rondavels are in a state of disrepair and not benefiting its residents because the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SCAR) has abandoned this facility despite having a massive budget for heritage sites.

Three years ago, 10 of the 14 rondavels on this site filled with the rich history of our education system were burnt down. The rondavels were built in the 1940s and are where some of our icons such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu were schooled.

The longer these rondavels remained neglected, the more they became vulnerable to vandalism and theft. As a result, the remaining four rondavels were also burnt down.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at the Mamelodi Rondavels today as part of the DA Heritage Month Campaign. We were disappointed to discover that all the rondavels are in shambles. The facility is not fenced and, there is now a pedestrian route passing through the facility.

Please see the images here, here, and here.

The DA proposes that the Mamelodi Rondavels should be preserved as a development facility, such as an early childhood development centre and art gallery, to boost the local economy and empower residents.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe, should prioritise the budget to revamp this facility and save what is left on this heritage site.

Our heritage is our future which must be preserved and passed on to future generations. The DA will not allow this current government to destroy our heritage, hence we will fight to ensure that these sites are restored to their former glory.

Old Sharpeville Police Station heritage site in shambles, an insult to the selfless victims of the Sharpeville Massacre

As the country still celebrates Human Rights Month, which is grounded in the remembrance of the Sharpeville Massacre, the Old Sharpeville Police Station heritage site is in shambles. This is an insult to the selfless victims of the massacre, as well as the residents of Gauteng. This is as a result of the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) subsequently stopping the maintenance and operational grant for this precinct.

This action by the department is denying Sharpeville residents an opportunity to benefit from this facility which has the potential of boosting the local economy. It can attract investors to create employment opportunities for unemployed residents, particularly the youth.

This is especially saddening as the country is still celebrating Human Rights month yet the Old Sharpeville Police Station which forms part of the Human Rights precinct in Sharpeville is not properly maintained and not fully operational. This precinct is in dire need of proper regular maintenance.

The DA conducted an oversight inspection at the Old Sharpeville Police Station and was disappointed by the terrible state of the infrastructure and environment in general. This is supposed to be a heritage site showcasing the events that happened inside the police station however, Client Services has been turned into a Skills Development Centre and the cells have been turned into classrooms.

Furthermore, this facility was handed over to the Emfuleni Local Municipality when the new Sharpeville Police Station was opened. The Old Sharpeville Police Station was declared a Grade IIII Provincial Heritage Site and later recognized as a National Heritage Site. The Human Rights Precinct, including the Old Sharpeville Police Station, has been nominated by UNESCO to become a World Heritage Site.

This nomination is a boost to the tourism sector in the area and will put Sharpeville on the worldwide map and have a positive impact on the economy. However, the department must still provide an operational grant for this precinct to attract more investors.

There is a need for funds to ensure the preservation of history. We cannot pay tribute to the sacrifices of our heroes while the facility is not fully operational and is not being properly maintained.

The DA demands answers from the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe on why the department has stopped funding this facility and who is responsible for the maintenance and operational costs. We will be tabling written questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain how much the initial grant for this centre was and who is responsible for this facility.

Most of the Gauteng heritage sites are in a state of disrepair while some remain incomplete and non functional, yet the department fails to spend its entire budget year after year.

The DA will not sit and allow MEC Hlophe’s department to jeopardise such a historical site for the people of Sharpeville and the entire Gauteng as it is crucial to build on the lessons learned from the Sharpeville tragedy and fix the injustices of the past.

The DA is the only party that is diverse and big enough to bring people together and ensure that our heritage sites are properly maintained and preserved.

Destroying our heritage sites incites hatred and disregards our rainbow nation

As the nation celebrates Heritage Day, we challenge all South Africans to unite despite our differences, to learn from each other and rebuild our nation.

South Africa is a richer place because of our diversity and heritage sites are a unifying force to help us build our nation. The diversity of our beliefs, culture, and language is what sets us apart as South Africans.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) condemns in the strongest terms the EFF ‘s picket for the removal of the Paul Kruger statue as part of celebrating Heritage Day. These actions disregard the importance of our heritage and incites hatred amongst different cultures and races.

It is unacceptable for the EFF to use this symbolic day to call for destruction and racial division within our country instead of bringing our people together.

Destroying this statue will not heal the nation from the injustices of the past. For the nation to succeed we must learn from the past and each other’s history.

Now is not the time to break down, remove or destroy, but to unite, learn and rebuild.

The DA is the only party that is diverse and big enough to bring people together and we believe that we should create more open spaces for additional statues and heritage sites, where we can come together to reflect on our past and focus on our future.

The DA in Tshwane has worked hard in our campaign, wards, and city to ensure that we have regular clean-up campaigns at all our heritage sites such as the Solomon Mahlangu Square, Church Square, Komjekejeke Cultural Village, Voortrekker Monument, the Synagogue, parks, and cemeteries.

Together through these campaigns and visits to our cultural heritage sites, we champion the preservation of all cultures and their heritage in our country.

South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity we can win as a nation. Now is the time to come together as we build a caring society with an active citizenry.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit to check your voter registration status.