The City of Cape Town will be hoping for a case of third time lucky after releasing a new draft policy on the renaming of public places on Thursday.
Attempts by two previous administrations, under mayors Peter Marais and Helen Zille, to change names were abandoned after becoming mired in controversy.
The city said the current mayor Dan Plato had asked three months ago that the city’s renaming policy should be revisited “in order to achieve a smoother process which would be less likely to cause tension among residents”.
Councillor Owen Kinahan had been tasked with the job.
Kinahan said the draft policy sought to encourage people to submit proposals for naming facilities such as halls and libraries, open spaces and parks, and roads and streets.
Where there was significant support among city councillors for a proposal, it could be tabled as a motion and debated by council.
If council approved the motion, the proposal would be advertised for public comment.
The public could also submit proposals, which would be considered by an advisory committee before going to council for a final decision.
Kinahan said the new policy would require detailed motivation of proposals and evidence of community support.
“Even though it might sometimes be obvious, in many instances it is quite simply a case of one person’s hero is someone else’s villain.
“By motivating proposals there is a genuine effort to understand and learn about other facets of our society so that we can avoid prejudice and uninformed reactions.”
The draft policy is open for comment to October 31, and should be approved in December.
“Thereafter council may decide to embark on a very limited process involving only a few names, but it has no desire to turn this into a political football on the eve of local government elections early in 2011,” Kinahan said.
Among names targeted in earlier renaming exercises were streets named after apartheid-era politicians, such as Oswald Pirow and Hans Strijdom, and the “NY” designations of roads in Gugulethu.
NY is an abbreviation for “native yards”. - Sapa.