By Ricardo MacKenzie, MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Cultural Affairs and Sport:
Name changes provide an opportunity to reflect our shared history in a fair manner. As such, I commend the City of Cape Town (CoCT) on the extent to which it has consulted the public in the naming of 7 bridges that cross over Nelson Mandela Boulevard (N2) and Rhodes Drive (M3).
The Naming Committee at the CoCT will today meet to consider and recommend to the Mayor the proposed names for the bridges.
The CoCT remains consistent in its engagement with the public. In this particular process, those living in the metro were afforded an opportunity to submit suggested names to the public participation office. Adverts were run in the media, notices were also placed on site at the crossings which are to be renamed, encouraging these submissions. The CoCT received an overwhelming number of submissions in turn. The responses were largely positive due to this being an authentic consultation process.
In January 2015, following a vetting process, the Naming Committee in the CoCT approved 7 names, which were then again made available for public input during the period of 1 – 30 April 2015. The 7 proposed names are as follows:
- Father John Oliver – An Anglican priest from District Six who passed away in 2013.
- Father Basil van Rensburg – A South African Catholic priest who gained international recognition for his fight against the apartheid regime’s forced removal of the people of District Six.
- Taliep Pietersen – A renowned singer, composer and director of a number of popular musicals.
- Tuan Guru – Imam Abdullah Ibn Qadhu Abdus Salaam, is regarded as the Father of Islam in South Africa, he was banished by the Dutch settlers to the Cape in 1780 and was incarcerated on Robben Island for 12 years until 1792.
- Dawid Kruiper – A traditional healer and leader of the Khomani San in the Kalahari, he spoke of the rights of indigenous people to the United Nations in 1994, and led the way for successful land claims for the San People in South Africa.
- |a!kunta (Klaas Stoffel) – The first contributor to the Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd Archive of /xam and !kun texts. He arrived in Mowbray on 29 August 1870 and stayed until October 1873.
- Ingrid Jonker – The South African poet who drowned at the age of 31, in Sea Point. Her poem ‘Die Kind’ was recited by former President Nelson Mandela during the opening of South Africa’s first democratic parliament in 1994.
These crossings will be renamed after locals who made important contributions to our history. This initiative taken by the CoCT encourages the use of consultative processes, which serve to form an inclusive society. Name changes provide the opportunity to promote cultural diversity and strengthen community identity.
The DA in the Western Cape is committed to redressing the legacy of our past in a way that represents the will of the people, through the correct channels.