Opposition parties are set to march through Durban on Workers' Day on May 1 in protest against the eThekwini municipality's proposed name changes of streets and buildings. Announcing the march in Durban on Tuesday, the Inkatha Freedom Party's eThekwini caucus leader, Themba Nzuza, said the party would be marching "against the blatantly flawed" process.
Opposition parties are set to march through Durban on Workers’ Day on May 1 in protest against the eThekwini municipality’s proposed name changes of streets and buildings.
Announcing the march in Durban on Tuesday, the Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) eThekwini caucus leader, Themba Nzuza, said the IFP would be marching “against the blatantly flawed” process.
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) eThekwini caucus leader John Steenhuisen called on DA supporters to join the march.
Nzuza said names submitted for the renaming of streets had been to the exclusion of all other parties. The IFP has been particularly incensed since it was announced several weeks ago that the Mangosuthu Buthelezi Highway would be renamed.
Nzuza also accused the African National Congress (ANC) of insulting the Zulu royal family with the call to rename the Princess Magogo Stadium after Dumisane Makhaye, an ANC provincial minister of housing who died two years ago.
“The renaming has nothing to do with removing apartheid icons,” she said.
During the past weekend several newspapers carried advertisements with the proposed list of name changes.
One of the more controversial name changes—resulting in numerous letters of objection to local newspapers—has been renaming of Kingsway Road in Amanzimtoti to “Andrew Zondo Road”.
Zondo (19) was sentenced to death in September 1986 for planting a bomb in a rubbish bin at the Amanzimtoti centre in December 1985. Two women and three children were killed. Scores more were injured.
Speaking about the call to rename Kingsway Road after Zondo, he said: “It’s almost akin to renaming a street in New York after Osama bin Laden. It’s highly insensitive.”
Steenhuisen questioned why Rockdale Drive in Westville had to be renamed after the KwaZulu-Natal premier’s son, who died on the road in a car accident.
“Are we going to rename every road after somebody who died in a car accident? We will be mobilising people to object. The process and choice of many of the names is deliberately provocative,” he said.
At a farewell function in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday evening, Tony Leon described the names chosen for the streets as “a rogues’ gallery of Third World revolutionaries”.
“A vital point often missed in emotive debates around name-changing is that altering the moniker of streets, suburbs and towns of institutions creates the wondrous illusion of making something out of nothing—the third-rate politician’s fantasy.
“It is much easier to affix shiny labels to our crumbling stock of hospitals, clinics or colleges than to actually build desperately needed new ones,” Leon said.
The African Christian Democratic Party’s provincial leader Andrew Thring said the party had not decided whether to join the march, but he personally was in favour of the protest.
“I am not opposed to the renaming, but I am opposed to the process. And some of the names are deliberately insensitive.”
Both Nzuza and Steenhuisen said that despite repeated requests to see the original list of who submitted the proposed name changes, they had not received copies.
“These submissions have not been made available to any committee on the council to date,” said Steenhuisen.
But city officials have denied representing the interests of only the ruling ANC.
Sipho Cele, eThekwini city manager for governance, said the process had been publicised. “It went through council. We placed adverts asking for submissions, but this was all we received.”
He said political parties should have gone to their constituents informing them to make submissions for name changes. “It was before council in February.”
He conceded that the city only advertised in print media.
Cele said he was quite happy for the opposition parties to examine the “paper trail” relating to the submissions of proposed name changes.
He said that those who were unhappy with name changes should object. “The names are not final. It’s not too late. People can still object.”
He said there were 181 name changes that had been submitted.
How much the name changes would cost the city could not be determined until final approval of the names. Cele said it cost the city R250,00 per intersection for the new street names. Long streets would have more intersections and therefore more signs.—Sapa