CONCERNS have been raised over vandalised and dilapidated monuments in Nemato.
The matter was brought to TotT’s attention by Ward 8 resident Mahoy Nkontso, who once chaired the Nemato Community Policing Forum.
Nkontso first showed us a collapsed monument in Gangca Street, in a field across the road from some houses. The headstone had to be lifted to read the inscription. It was erected in honour of forefathers of the community.
He said the monument was erected in about 1989, recalling that it was before Nelson Mandela was released from prison.
“The struggle blessed the monument,” Nkontso said.
We then moved on to a more recently erected monument at Heroes Acre at the entrance to Nemato. TotT covered the story when the monument was unveiled by the former MEC of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Noxolo Abrahams-Ntantiso in 2008.
The monument was originally protected by a palisade fence which is now missing pieces, enabling stray cattle to graze in the monument area.
In addition, the marble plaque commemorating the unveiling has been broken off and lies shattered in several pieces.
Nkontso has another quibble about the monument, one that he said had bothered him for years.
“Of the six names, five are of people who were shot by apartheid security forces, but one name, Xolile Maneli, is a man who was necklaced by his comrades.”
Nkontso said he did not mind if the monument was meant to be inclusive of people who lost their lives on both sides of the struggle, “but if it is also for people who were necklaced shouldn’t there be more names there?”
Nkontso said his credentials include having been a marshal for the ANC, a member of the SA Youth Congress, then the ANC Youth League, and serving on the executive in ANC branches.
In response to TotT’s queries, municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa said: “The monuments are a critical part of our community. The municipality, during the upcoming budget process, will ensure that these are maintained and looked after.”
As for the list of names on the monument and how they were selected, Mbolekwa said he still needed a response from political leaders.