Thuli investigates Jhb's Ramallah donations

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Johannesburg’s gift to Ramallah is under scrutiny of the Public Protector. Advocate Anton Alberts, a Member of Parliament for the Vryheidsfront (Freedom Front) Plus (VF) party, has laid a formal complaint with the Public Protector regarding the process and affordability of the City of Johannesburg’s donation of a bronze statue of Nelson Mandela to the West Bank city of Ramallah.
by ANT KATZ | Jun 01, 2016

It seems that the initial gift of R6 million worth of statue may end up costing Johannesburg ratepayers in excess of R20 million.The cities of Johannesburg and Ramallah were twinned in November 2014 - while the City Council was only advised of it early in 2015 at a City Council meeting, according to minutes of the meeting, that were obtained by SA Jewish Report. 

In her response, Madonsela undertakes that she and her team will assess the complaint and come back to Alberts in due course.

Mandela statue6

RIGHT: The statue has become a tourist attraction for Ramallah. It stands on a massive foundation in this newly-built traffic circle with the huge marble plaque seen across the street. The VF wants to know if Johannesburg’s ratepayers funded all of this

“Although the central focus of the complaint is on the City of Johannesburg,” says Alberts, “the supporting department, namely that of the national Department of Public Works, also deserves scrutiny so as to ensure a holistic enquiry”.

The complaint emanates from what the VF says it suspects to be an “unauthorised decision by Mayor Parks Tau and his delegates to create and donate a R6 million statue of late President Nelson Mandela to Ramallah, and in doing so contradicting the tender regulations and possibly doing it “behind closed doors without discussing it at a Council meeting”.

The VF’s request to the Public Protector is that she launch an investigation into the City of Johannesburg and the Department of Public Works in respect of the following issues:

1. Investigate the “outrageous amount of R6 million” paid for the statue; whether the City of Johannesburg had the financial means for this donation; and the cost of the delegation’s trip to Ramallah to unveil the statue; 

2. The departure from normal Council tender regulations leading to the tender being awarded to a son of Struggle icon Oliver Tambo;

3. Whether Parks Tau and delegates had the necessary permission/authority to make this donation and how many visited Ramallah in the planning, creating and unveiling of the statue.

Mandela statue TALL4. Whether political interference played a role; whether the mayor or anyone else involved was guilty of negligence; and, if so, whether anyone found guilty can be held personally liable.

City silent

SA Jewish Report has previously posed similar questions to the City of Johannesburg but has met with continued silence. 

RIGHT: All smiles by the South African and Palestinian delegations at the launch of the behemoth

All media have the right to issue an application under the 2002 Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Act (PAIA) to get the answers. 


  1. 3 nat cheiman 02 Jun
    Again, our ANC government spend money on garbage, when there are workers ( pikitup) wanting salary increases/ houses to be built for the poor/ etc etc.
    The ANC nitwits are vacant and have no conception about money.
    Hopefully, the next election will see the back of these idiots.
  2. 2 Reuel 06 Jun
    The forging of friendship between JHB and Ramallah is a worthy cause. It is easy to dismiss the statue donation and wish the money was used for "better" purposes, but given the goodwill that the statue has created and the awareness of the struggle against apartheid that it promoted, this was a very good investment.  
  3. 1 Gary Selikow 17 Jun
    Of course Reuel - any amount spent on trying to wipe out Israel would be a good investment to you and you far left/Islamist ilk


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