Callous vandals have wreaked havoc on the national heritage site by breaking pillars, the information centre, kiosk and the lighting system.
The Chris Hani Memorial site at the Thomas Titus Nkobi Memorial Park in Boksburg, which contains the remains of several struggle icon, has been vandalised.
According to metro spokesperson Zweli Dlamini, the vandalism to the four pillars of the ANC struggle portion of the facility, as well as the information centre and kiosk, was discovered by municipal officials when they reported for duty on Monday.
“The lighting system of the facility was removed and one of the pillars was badly damaged. There was also a burglary at the information centre, which is situated along the Walk of Remembrance linking to the Chris Hani Memorial,” explained Dlamini.
The city is assessing the facility to determine the amount of damage, and the matter has been reported to the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department for investigation. A criminal case will be opened.
Anyone who has information on who is behind the attack is asked to come forward.
The City of Ekurhuleni has strongly condemned the attack on the facility and is pleading with people to respect the heritage site, which was officially opened by former president Jacob Zuma in 2015.
“The city is doing its best to preserve its rich heritage, but there seems to be some people out there who are hell-bent on ensuring this does not happen. What makes the situation even more puzzling is the timing of the incident considering the recent judgement by the Constitutional Court on the case [of Janusz Waluś]. Such incidents are extremely regrettable.
“Our people should take pride in such facilities instead of destroying them.”
After nearly 30 years of languishing behind bars, the man who killed Hani – Janusz Waluś – is about to be released on parole. This follows a recent Constitutional Court ruling ordering his release.
The graveyard, formerly known as South Park Cemetery, is guarded by security officers who are stationed there 24/7.
Dlamini pointed out that a few years ago, Hani’s grave was shot at in an incident that caused a major public outcry. “The city wants to make it clear that no amount of sabotage, theft or vandalism can erase the contribution of stalwarts like Chris Hani, who is a free person of the City of Ekurhuleni.”
Hani, a stalwart of the liberation struggle, was assassinated on April 10, 1993, outside his former Dawn Park house – which has since been turned into a museum.
The city conferred the Freedom of the City to Chris Hani posthumously in November 2006 and declared April, the month he died, Chris Hani Month. Hani’s grave was also declared a national heritage site.