Cape Town to name part of N1 after De Klerk

2015-01-14 12:41

The City of Cape Town is set to name the first section of the N1 from Cape Town after the last president of apartheid South Africa, FW de Klerk.

The City announced this morning that its naming committee has recommended to the city’s council the renaming of the Table Bay Boulevard after the former president.

The city council is expected to approve this recommendation when it meets on January 28.

But not everyone will be happy with the new name. The ANC said in October last year that De Klerk, as the “last president of the apartheid era”, should not be honoured by having Table Bay Boulevard named after him.

Independent Newspapers last year quoted ANC councillor Bheki Hadebe telling a Good Hope subcouncil meeting that: “We respect and uphold the principles of nation-building … but FW de Klerk was the last president of the apartheid era. Under his watch his ministers orchestrated black on black violence. I don’t think it is befitting to be reminded of this painful past.”

Announcing the recommendation this morning, the City said the proposed renaming of Table Bay Boulevard in honour of De Klerk received overwhelming support during a comprehensive and city-wide public participation process.

The process took place over a 30-day period from October 1 to 31 2014, during which residents, role players, interested parties and community organisations were invited to air their views.

The recommendation for the renaming of that road follows from a written request sent by “prominent residents” of Cape Town to Mayor Patricia de Lille and the City Council in June last year, to rename the first section of the N1 freeway from Cape Town to FW de Klerk Boulevard.

Among the 27 signatories who proposed the name change were Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille, who is also the DA’s leader.

“They motivated that it is opportune for the city to recognise the pivotal role played by former president FW de Klerk in the transition to a new dispensation in South Africa,” said chairperson of the City’s Naming Committee, Councillor Brett Herron.

“We are encouraged by the number of residents who participated in the public consultation process. Although the public consultation process is not a referendum and therefore not about numbers, we do note that the overwhelming majority of those who participated supported the renaming proposal,” said Herron.

He said the proposal to rename the road complied with the city’s naming policy, which states that citizens of Cape Town and South Africa may be considered in their lifetime if they have received international recognition of the highest kind.

“Mr de Klerk clearly falls within this category and the FW de Klerk Foundation has also confirmed that Mr de Klerk is in favour of such a decision if a street with a neutral name is to be renamed after him,” said Herron.

He said while the naming committee has made its recommendation, the final decision would be made by the council.

The City renamed the Eastern Boulevard after former President Nelson Mandela in 2011.

De Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993 for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.

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