Residents want Mugabe Road changed

Sicelo Dladla

Sicelo Dladla

Umlazi Street, which has been renamed Mugabe Road after Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, could be renamed again if residents make a submission to the eThekwini municipality.

"If the community, for whatever reason, now feel they want to rename the road, they have the right to do so by following the existing process," Zandile Gumede, chairman of the Masakhane committee that deals with street renaming in the council, said.

Last week angry Umlazi residents demanded that the name Robert Mugabe be removed from the street in AA section because they felt the Zimbabwean leader was not a good role model for children.

They accused Mugabe of unleashing a terror campaign on Zimbabweans.

One of the residents, Zandile Mntambo, said the name should be removed as part of demonstrating that South Africans truly believed in democracy and government with integrity.

"The eThekwini municipality said the name could still be changed since it is not part of the renaming process currently under way," Mntambo said.

She said residents should make a decision and discuss whether the road should be renamed with their ward councillor, Sibonelo Mthembu, who has also welcomed a review of the name.

"Mthembu will then discuss the issue with the ward committee and after that submit the proposed name to my committee for approval," she said.

But some residents along Mugabe Road have no problem with the name of the liberator-turned-despot.

Gumede blamed the media for distorting the facts about Mugabe Road.

"It is important to emphasise that the Mugabe Road in question is not part of the renaming of streets under the current eThekwini municipality council," GumeIde said.

"It has been there since the 1990s."

Gumede said the road was given the name after the first democratic municipal elections in 1996, when ward councillors in the townships encouraged communities to name streets to reflect the change in the country.