The wife of Solomon Motloba, whose 2.5m tombstone was unveiled last month in Krugersdorp’s Kagiso Cemetery a year after his death, has defended its cost and design, adding that the ANC did not contribute towards it.

The structure, featuring the ruling party’s emblem, caused a social media stir when a video of its unveiling was shared. Some said it looked like a shopping centre and accused the ANC of wasting money.

However, Solomon’s wife Meriam Motloba said: “The tombstone cost only R42,000 and I had to pay half of the amount upfront. I am paying off the balance in monthly instalments. The ANC never contributed anything. I think the designer put the ANC emblem on as my husband was part of the MKMVA [Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association], which is affiliated with the ANC.”

Meriam said the tombstone was conceptualised by a friend of her husband’s and it seemed the party’s emblem was the main reason for people’s ire.

She said it was painful to witness people commenting on the cost of the tombstone and saying the money could have been used to fix potholes or solve load-shedding.

“How is that even possible?” she asked.

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One social media user was asked by the family to remove a video of the tombstone. They obliged and apologised.

Zaza Machakela, ANC regional spokesperson for the West Rand, said the tombstone was created by the family to celebrate the anniversary of the passing of “this comrade”.

Machakela said Solomon was among struggle icons who contributed to the freedom of the country.

“If you understand who comrade Solly was, [you would know] he was a simple man [who] worked with the community.”

Solomon was never employed by the government and despite his contribution to the liberation struggle, was prepared to sit outside government structures and continue with life as if he never contributed, he added.

“It becomes easier for those who know him, including the church and the relatives, to prepare and say we will bury this hero of ours with dignity so we remember him and the contribution [he made, rather than relying on ANC processes to unfold].”


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