President Cyril Ramaphosa ridiculed Minister Nathi Mthethwa during a televised address at the Black Business Council (BBC) last night.
Watch: Ramaphosa reacts to Nathi Mthethwa’s flag blunder
Speaking to leading entrepreneurs in Midrand on Thursday evening, the president diverted from his speech on the government’s work in creating opportunities for black businesses to address the elephant in the room.
This week, the minister of arts and culture has been on the receiving end of widespread backlash for his proposal to develop an R22 million national flag that, if approved, would stand tall at 100 metres.
The project, however, received resounding nays from the public, and according to the president, Mthethwa called him seeking advice.
“[Nathi] Mthethwa comes to me. He says, ‘president, please tell me when I can call you.’ So, I say, ‘Mthethwa, I am in a Cabinet committee meeting . We will talk afterwards. So, I call him back, and he says, ‘ah, president, this flag thing, which is such a wonderful initiative, it seems that our people are not happy with it.’… He asked, what should I do? [I told him], ‘cancel this thing!” Ramaphosa exclaimed, barely able to contain his tears of laughter.
Mthethwa has, at this time, not surfaced to address the flag project in the public domain. However, his department did issue a statement confirming the development was put on hold and, as things stand, it is currently under review.
“It also bodes well for one of the pillars of social cohesion which is an active citizenry. In upholding these ethos and the inalienable rights of citizens to be heard, the minister of sport, arts and culture has directed his department to review the process related to the monumental flag in its totality,” the ministry said in a statement.