The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has already spent R1.7 million on a feasibility study for South Africa’s proposed monumental flag, whose cost is estimated at R22 million.
The Department’s Deputy Director-General for Heritage Promotion and Preservation, Vusithemba Ndima, revealed this during an interview on talk radio 702 on Wednesday (18 May).
Breakdown of feasibility study’s cost
Asked what constituted this amount, Ndima said, “They had to do the needs analysis of whether a project of this nature was necessary, whether it was within the mandate of the Department, and whether it is something that can be done in South Africa and create job opportunities.”
The team that undertook the study also had to check which sites would be the most suitable for the project, determine the kind of work that would go into it and develop budget estimates, Ndima added.
He emphasised that the R22 million figure is only an estimate of the cost, which takes into account factors such as geotechnical work and whether the soil and rock types would support the structure.
Ndima said the project is estimated to create 143 jobs. “During the construction, we are looking at 65 [jobs], off-site construction 25, transport 18, engineering and design 12, management of the site 8 [and] 15 indirect jobs,” he explained.
Minister defends R22m monumental flag proposal
The proposal to construct the R22 million monumental flag may have sparked controversy among South Africans, but the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa is not backing down from it.
In an interview on eNCA on Tuesday evening, Mthethwa said the structure will be 120 metres tall and the flag itself will be 10 metres by 15 metres. The flag will also be illuminated at night.
“The massive nature of the flag is bringing in the steel industry. So, the value would outlive us,” he emphasised.
The Department also provided further details about the project in its 2021 annual performance plan, noting that Saudi Arabia had the tallest monumental flag in the world at 171 metres. The US has the ninth tallest (120 metres) while Angola (75 metres) has one of the tallest flags in Africa.
“The flag is the common identity of the people in a particular country. The flag, as the brand image of the country, need to be highly recognised by the citizens. Rendering a National Flag as a monument of Democracy, goes a long way in making it highly recognised by the citizens. This has a potential to unite people as it becomes a common identity,” it added.
The controversy was sparked soon after BusinessTech published the proposal’s estimated cost contained in the Department’s 2022 annual performance plan earlier this week.
“R5 million is budgeted in 2022/23 for the site-specific geotechnical studies, including the environmental impact assessment and other tests and applications that will be required prior to construction. In 2023/24, R17 million is allocated for the installation of the monumental flag,” the Department reportedly stated.