Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo says the city council has formally agreed to rename William Nicol Drive after struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Speaking to eNCA at the official launch of the pothole patrol initiative to address the city’s road maintenance backlog Makhubo said the renaming process was not an ANC campaign but a decision by the city council.
“We passed a motion in council and now community development MMC Margaret Arnolds who is responsible for renaming areas is spearheading the campaign,” Makhubo said.
He said that while there were people against the renaming, the council’s decision was unanimous, which meant that “most of society” was behind the move and the renaming would go ahead as planned.
However the DA has opposed the renaming and launched an online petition which reads:
The proposal to rename William Nicol goes against the city’s naming of streets and public places policy for the following reasons:
- William Nicol Drive is the responsibility of the province and the city therefore has no jurisdiction over it.
- Renaming should be avoided when there are significant costs – not only to the city, but also to businesses and other stakeholders.
- Insufficient public consultation with affected stakeholders, no notice to councillors in the affected wards and a lack of public notices.
- There are already roads and schools named after Winnie Mandela and the policy says that there should be no duplication of names in the city.
- A renaming proposal will be considered only when the long-term benefits to the community can be shown to outweigh any short-term effects or private interests.
The party also argues that Madikizela-Mandela’s name is already on four schools, a taxi rank, a clinic and a street in Johannesburg.
“In a time of economic crisis, why spend taxpayers money on this? We call on residents to sign this petition and stop this illegal and pointless name change,” the party said.
“SA is experiencing an economic crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses, especially SMMEs, are suffering with many having to reduce their workforce or even close their doors. It is unthinkable that the city would resolve to add a further burden on businesses.”
At the time of writing, the DA’s petition had gathered 4,399 signatures of the 20,000 goal.