Black South Africans danced as a 1.6 ton statue of Hendrik Verwoerd, known as the "architect of apartheid" was removed from a city office building. Conservative whites were appalled.
"The breaking down of statues . . . is an emotional issue which is going to cause great friction between groups in South Africa," conservative leader Gen. Constand Viljoen said after the statue was removed Friday from the front of an office building in Bloemfontein, capital of the Orange Free State.Noeks Fourie, director of public works in the province, told the South African Press Association he had been instructed to remove the statue and store it safely.
The black-led African National Congress won control of Parliament in the Orange Free State and seven of nine other provinces in the country's first all-race election in April. The ANC also controls the national parliament.
Statues, symbols and names are expected to change across South Africa with the end of white minority rule. The country already has a new flag, and the ANC anthem is now one of two national anthems.
The National Party, who formally instituted apartheid in 1948, objected to the removal of the Verwoerd statue, saying "the full history of South Africa and the full spectrum of society should be reflected in Parliament."
Viljoen said the action threatened the climate of reconciliation that President Nelson Mandela has tried to foster.
Viljoen's party is demanding a separate homeland for Afrikaners - the descendants of Dutch settlers who colonized South Africa in the 17th century.