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South Africa: UFS Removes Statue of Boer Republic President Mt Steyn

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The University of the Free State (UFS) started dismantling the MT Steyn statue situated in front of the Main Building on its Bloemfontein campus over the weekend.

Steyn was the sixth and last president of the independent Orange Free State Boer republic from 1896 to 1902.

According to a statement by UFS, this comes after the Permit Committee of the Free State Provincial Heritage Resources Authority (FSPHRA) issued a permit to the university on 11 June to dismantle, store and relocate the statue to the War Museum in Bloemfontein.

As stipulated in the permit, the university subsequently submitted a Conservation Management Plan to the committee for consideration, which was approved on 17 June.

Arrangements were subsequently made for the dismantling and storage of the statue.

“We are in the process of finalising an agreement with the War Museum for the relocation of the statue. The agreement protects the university and the museum and it is not a contract or a condition for the relocation of the statue as this forms part of the provisions in the permit. The agreement should be concluded in the coming week and the statue can then be relocated to the museum,” said Professor Francis Petersen, rector and vice-chancellor of the UFS.

Reassembling at War Museum

The provisions in the permit stipulated that the university must prepare a Conservation Management Plan that will address the process to be undertaken to relocate the statue indicating the team to be appointed for the dismantling, temporary storage and reassembling of the statue at the War Museum; the Heritage Architect that will be appointed to oversee the process; and that the wishes of the Steyn Family should be accommodated.