clash over renaming of streets continues

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The eThekwini municipality will set traps to catch culprits who vandalise street signs bearing new names around the city.

This comes after new street signs were vandalised in the Glenwood area of Durban.

Though city officials could not divulge what form of traps will be used, Zandile Gumede, chairman of the Masakhane committee responsible for street and building name changes, said they would "act decisively" against vandalism.

"We will definitely set up traps to catch those responsible, but I cannot divulge what exactly we will do because it would be like giving them a warning.

"We want to catch them off-guard."

Meanwhile, the main opposition parties in the eThekwini council - the IFP and the DA - are pressing ahead with their high court battle over the street-naming process.

The two parties said they were not against the process but rather the manner in which the ANC-dominated council, supported by city manager Mike Sutcliffe, imposed their will on the public.

In his affidavit, DA caucus leader in the eThekwini municipality, John Steenhuizen, said the process required full consultation with objections being given proper consideration.

"The council and city manager acted in an irresponsible and immature manner throughout the entire name-changing process with total disregard to the rights of the general community."

IFP caucus leader in the eThekwini municipality, Thembi Nzuza, insisted that their aim in going to court was to stop the ANC from "its arrogance" in continuing with name changes in the city.

"It seems the ANC-led municipality does not recognise other people outside the party or politics.

"We have our sporting heroes who can be honoured by naming some of our buildings and streets after them, but the ANC ignores that," said Nzuza.

She said vandalism of some street signs around the city was an indication that people were dissatisfied with the process.

"We have been saying that a democratic process has to be followed, that people should be consulted and we are being vindicated by the recent vandalism," said Nzuza.

In her affidavit, supported by the DA, Nzuza says the "struggle was not won by political parties alone" and that a whole host of other "people from different walks of life were involved".