|NATIONAL NEWS - The Flame of Democracy at the Constitutional Court has been doused for maintenance, but will be burning again next week, an official said on Thursday.|
"We're upgrading the flame at the moment," explained Petal Thring, CEO of Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, which houses the flame in an installation to mark 15 years of the anniversary of the Constitution.
Former president Nelson Mandela lit the "Flame of Democracy" last year at his home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.
Before lighting a flame in a bowl marked "freedom" in the installation, the flame passed through the hands of the justices of the Constitutional Court.
President Jacob Zuma could not make it because of his schedule, so Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe had the honour of declaring it lit at a ceremony in December.
He said at the time: "We must light the flame to dispel the darkness of our past. The Eternal Flame of Democracy that we are lighting today must never blow out, but for ever cast light on our nation."
However he could not have predicted the effect of soot and how it would damage the surrounding structure. When officials noticed how blackened the installation had become, they decided to switch it off and bring workmen in to make a few alterations. These were expected to be completed by next Wednesday.
The spotlight at Constitution Hill that can be seen from across Johannesburg is however still burning bright.
Said Thring of the Flame of Democracy: "It's such an amazing feature. We're so lucky to have it here."
Source : Sapa