The City of Cape Town's name-changing panel is hard at work sifting through more than 200 submissions for renaming streets, buildings and public places. About 350 submissions were received after a call by the City for suggestions for renaming streets, buildings and public places, but 150 of these did not meet the requirements and will not be considered.
The panel of experts (listed below) was appointed to process the submissions and make recommendations to the City. The 17 panel members were nominated by members of the public in order to make the process as transparent and inclusive as possible, and panel members represent a broad cross-section of Cape Town society, as well as experts in history, language, place names and religion. "It's a civilian panel, and there is no political involvement," says Councillor Owen Kinahan.
The panel is chaired by human rights activist Rhoda Kadalie. Mayor Helen Zille said she was satisfied that "an excellent team has been assembled for this important task".
The panel has to make its recommendations to the City before the end of June, where these will be debated. These recommendations will not be final, but will be advertised for public objection, so that members of the public can still have a say in the process and object to the proposals if they want to.
These objections will be included in the final submission to Council in August, when a final decision will be made. The deadline is important, as the City plans to put up the signs for any new streets or buildings during September - Heritage month.
Zille said the process of renaming places in South Africa "needs to be done in a responsible and respectful way".She pointed out that Cape Town formulated a name-change policy four years ago following the controversy about the renaming of Adderley and Wale Streets, and that some names have been changed since then, but there was still a need to have another name-change process. "There are some iconic names that have been regularly sited as 'offensive' in recent years, and some of them have been identified," Zille said.
According to Kinahan, the panel "has a lot of work to do, and we hope that they are able to get on with this important task".
The panel includes:
- Rhoda Kadalie - human rights activist (Chairperson)
- Adv Abduroaf Mohammed - Environmental lawyer & slave descendant
- Dan Badenhorst - trademark attorney
- Dr Mohammed Bayat - Dean of CAPUT Business School
- Bonita Bennet - Conservation Manager, District Six Museum
- Albin Bowler - history teacher
- Dr Dan Sleigh - historian & researcher
- Sharon de Gois - Board member, Heritage Western Cape
- Judy Graham - Map Studio executive
- Valmont Lane - Director, District Six Museum
- Bulelwa Ngewana - Manager, Central City Partnership
- Melvyn Minnaar - Journalist & cultural commentator
- John Muir - Stigting Simon van der Stel past-chairperson
- Professor Christopher Saunders - UCT History Department
- Dr Francois Verster - Archival researcher
- Marietta Marx - Financial planner
- Yawa Thozama - Language specialist