Cape Town to build a Mandela statue

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Nelson Mandela may soon take a commanding position in Cape Town, under city plans to erect a statue of him on the site where he made his first speech as a free man 23 years ago, an official said on Thursday.

The ailing statesman who has been in hospital for six days with a recurrent lung condition has several statues in his honour across the country, including an eight-metre tall bronze figure in the central city of Bloemfontein.

The figure unveiled in December 2012 is said to be the tallest statue of the revered statesman who became the country's first black president in 1994.

The latest likeness would be built in the centre of the "Mother city", on the Grand Parade square, where Mandela addressed thousands of supporters after his release from prison on February 11, 1990.

"We will be encouraging innovation, creativity and artist expression," said Mr Brett Herron, the chairman of the committee heading the project.

"The time line for the erection of the statue is not yet clear, we first need to work out the process to be followed," said Mr Herron.