new names, so what?

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Two big Soweto roads are set to be renamed - but it appears residents couldn't care less.

The City of Johannesburg has approved the renaming of the Old Potchefstroom Road (M68) to Chris Hani Road and Roodepoort Road to Elias Motsoaledi Road.

Residents have until next month to comment or make submissions to the council about the name changes.

But taxi driver Zakhele Mthembu says: "I heard about the name change on the radio news and I do not care as long as the road works.

"As long as tourists use the road to come and see Soweto and there are passengers, it makes no difference."

Businessman Abel Petersen disagrees on the Roodepoort Road name change.

"This road has been called this for donkey years," Petersen says. "We are going to get lost in the new South Africa. If they were building a bridge over the road and called it Elias Motsoaledi I would understand.

"The two streets are great Soweto landmarks and it will cost a lot of money to change the names."

Nhlanhla Dlamini says she does not know who Elias Motsoaledi was.

"I don't care what they do with the roads because they always name them after their own people," she says.

The Old Potchefstroom Road runs from the Lenasia-Protea South link road, past the M72 Koma Street, past Pimville, past the M1 north on-ramp near Diepkloof and ends at the R553 Golden Highway on Columbine Avenue.

Roodepoort Road starts from Old Potchefstroom Road near Thokoza Park and goes past Central Western Jabavu, Mofolo, Ikwezi station, Dobsonville shopping centre and ends in Main Reef Road.

Hani was head of the South African Communist Party in 1991 and supported the suspension of the ANC's armed struggle in favour of negotiations.

He was murdered by a far- right Polish immigrant named Janusz Walus.

Motsoaledi played an active role in the establishment of the Congress of South African Trade Unions. He was one of the Rivonia trialists and was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.