Name change an 'obstruction to reconciliation'
Johannesburg - The proposed renaming of the Mangosuthu Highway in Umlazi is an "obstruction to reconciliation efforts" in KwaZulu-Natal, the Inkatha Freedom Party said on Saturday.
"As you are aware, there is an extensive history to this renaming effort," said provincial legislature member Blessed Gwala in an open letter to the province's Premier Zweli Mkhize.
"[It] speaks of obstruction to reconciliation efforts between the ANC and the IFP."
Gwala argued that IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi was instrumental in securing a deal with the Cele clan, who inhabited the area, to allow those barred from living in Durban under apartheid to establish a community in Umlazi.
It was the township council of Umlazi that proposed the highway be named Mangosuthu Highway in recognition of this, Gwala said.
The letter was a response to an announcement by eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo last Friday that the city would go ahead with renaming Mangosuthu Highway after ANC activist Griffiths Mxenge.
"Renaming the highway is thus highly provocative; not because Mr Griffiths Mxenge does not deserve to be honoured... but because the ANC sees fit to replace the remembrance of an IFP leader with that of an ANC veteran."
He said the Umlazi community should be consulted.
"No one should have the authority to foist on people their own perspective of our country's history."
On Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance expressed concern that the renaming of the highway could reopen old wounds in the province's political history.
"We believe this issue has the potential to bring back political intolerance that plagued KZN for much of the 1990s," said councillor Zwakele Mncwango.
The DA was not against the renaming of streets as long as this was done in a consultative manner that promoted nation building.
The DA approached the Durban Magistrate's Court in 2008 to fight the ANC on its street renaming process, but lost its bid.
The party then took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, which was expected to rule in November.