Proposal to change legislature rooms’ names irks IFP

2015-01-14 00:00

A PROPOSAL by the Democratic ­Alliance to change the names of two meeting rooms in the KwaZulu-Natal ­legislature has been met with hostility from the IFP, which wants to maintain the current names.

Yesterday the DA submitted a proposal to the speaker, Lydia Johnson, for the names of the rooms to be changed.

The party said the move comes after lengthy debate about changing the existing names of venues in the legislature complex, which are primarily used as meeting venues for portfolio committees.

“For historical reasons derived from the post-1994 political reconciliation in KZN, the two largest meeting rooms were respectively named the ANC and IFP Caucus rooms after the then two ­largest parties.

“This nomenclature is no longer ­appropriate given that since 2014 the official opposition and second largest party has been the DA,” said DA MPL Mark Steele.

He said the venues are mainly used to hold non-political portfolio committee meetings that have nothing to do with party caucuses.

Steele said the DA firmly believed that all venues in the legislature complex used primarily for portfolio or other committee business should be given designations of a simple non-political nature.

“We have therefore proposed that names such as Okhahlamba [Mountain Park] and Isimangaliso [Wetland Park], both world heritage sites located in our province, be used,” he said, adding that the DA’s suggestion is in line with other provincial legislatures in South Africa and other countries that have names such as Committee Rooms 1, 2 and 3.

Steele said in the event that committee venues are given specific names, “they should not be the names of people or ­places associated with any one political party”.

“Names must also be inclusive and be capable of positive identification by a wide range of KZN residents and political parties,” he said.

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader Blessed Gwala dismissed the DA’s notion, saying that the party was “jealous”.

“I don’t see a reason why the names should be changed. The legislature is where all political parties meet; it is the house of political parties. They are just jealous because they don’t have a room named after them,” he said.

Gwala said the rooms’ names should remain unchanged because they were “part of our history”.

“The DA wants to be the EFF of KZN, making unnecessary noise,” he said.

ANC Chief Whip Nontembeko Boyce accused the DA of grandstanding.

“The matter came to us in the ­beginning of the last term. The two rooms are for the ruling party and the ­official opposition.

“This means that the DA will be in the IFP room and of course they do not want to be in a room named after another ­party,” explained Boyce.

She said all parties, except the IFP, agreed to change the names.

“We then said that we want parties to come up with names and submit them to the Speaker in the first week of 2015.

“We have not even met this year and the DA is already doing what it does best, grandstanding,” said Boyce.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

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