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Renaming process put on hold

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Renaming process put on hold

by Martin Pollack
10 Apr 2008
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town has put its plans for the renaming of streets and public places on hold, and plans to start a new renaming process in order to promote harmony and avoid “hurt and division”.

Mayor Helen Zille told a Council meeting on 27 March that the current renaming process “still has a way to go if we are to achieve its stated objectives” and withdrew it from the agenda.

She said that the name-change policy, which was drawn up and agreed to by all parties in the previous administration of Council, includes two important points which have to be considered: Firstly, that names are important points of symbolism, association and remembrance; and secondly, that names provide opportunities either to promote community harmony or to perpetuate hurt and division.

“We obviously want to promote harmony and healing,” Zille stated.

“It is a sobering fact that many of the scars of our society run very deep, and across the community spectrum strong views are still held about symbolic issues such as the names of streets and places.”

She said that if the proposals from the public which were recommended by a panel of experts were brought to Council prematurely, it could undermine the goals of the process, and “perpetuate the hurt and division we want to avoid”.

Zille said she hoped the process can be revisited in a way that will provide Cape Town with opportunities to promote community harmony, and appealed to all citizens to make informed and thoughtful choices in the “very important task ahead”.

The current renaming process started in June 2007, with a call to the public to propose names. A panel of experts, chaired by Rhoda Kadalie, was set up to consider 230 submissions from the public. A total of 31 name changes were recommended by the panel, and were advertised for public comment. These were to have been approved by Council before the decision to put the process on hold.

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