‘Stop this illegal and pointless name change’: DA against renaming of William Nicol to Winnie Mandela Drive

The City of Johannesburg has proposed changing the name of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive. File photo.
Image: Masi Losi

The DA has launched a petition to oppose the renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive.

Earlier this month, the City of Johannesburg announced it had started the public participation for the proposed renaming.

The city’s acting manager Floyd Brink said the renaming was in terms of the city’s approved policy on the naming of streets and other public places within Johannesburg.

Brink encouraged residents and all interested and affected stakeholders in the city to participate in the renaming process.

The process of renaming is set to run until Freedom Day, on April 27.

Opposing the renaming, the DA launched an online petition, saying there must not be a duplication of names. The party argued that Madikizela-Mandela’s name was already on four schools, a clinic, a taxi rank, and a street within the jurisdiction of Johannesburg.

“In a time of economic crisis, why spend taxpayer money on this? We call on residents to sign this petition and stop this illegal and pointless name change,” said the party.

“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 garnered 2,915 signatures out of the 20,000 set goal.

Last month, Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo threw his weight behind the renaming, saying he would like the process to be completed by June.

“Names carry history. They say something about those whose contributions are deemed worthy of public and multigenerational memory. These are by their very nature contentious and that is why they must always be treated with the sensitivity they deserve,” said Makhubo.

“This renaming of one of the city’s iconic landmarks is a result of council’s commitment to social transformation and cohesion. It symbolises the immeasurable commitment of Mama Winnie to the struggle for humanity and liberation of our country.”

BY Unathi Nkanjeni

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