Municipality under fire over R1.3m renaming price tag
THE Sisonke district municipality in southern KwaZulu-Natal, will splurge R1.3-million on a renaming ceremony expected to be graced by President Jacob Zuma when it changes the name of its council to that of struggle and South African Communist Party stalwart Harry Gwala.
The region incorporates Ixopo, Kokstad, Creighton, Himeville and Umzimkhulu.
According to regional secretary Amon Zondi the budget for the renaming had escalated from R250,000 last year to R1.3-million.
But, said Zondi, the budget would not only go to renaming the district, but would also pay for the renaming of halls, roads and other municipal buildings in five municipalities under the district.
"The ANC transformed this country and we want to make sure the names of buildings, roads, halls and the (district) municipality reflect this," Zondi said.
He said the renaming ceremony was expected to take place in September.
Zondi claimed that the renaming proposal had elicited little opposition from the people of the district.
"A few people complained about the name change, while others said they did not care about the name change. Most people want the district to be renamed," Zondi said.
But the Democratic Alliance in the municipality said there had not been any consultation on the renaming.
"We are totally opposed to this and this is a decision taken at national level by the DA. There has not been consultations at all on the matter and the local municipalities (under the district) have not even been informed about it," Sisonke district DA caucus leader Francios Rodgers said.
He added that the DA was also opposed to any expenditure related to the renaming.
IFP chairman in the district, Dumile Ngcamu, said that they were also opposed to the renaming.
"The ANC should first provide people with water and other basic services before spending money on the name change. Even after that we would not support expenditure on it unless it's at no cost to the ratepayers," said Ngcamu.
ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the party supported the renaming initiative. He said it was to restore the legacy of the ANC's revolution.
"Comrade Harry Gwala was a well-known leader who fought for freedom in this country," said Zikalala.