Evita puts Sutcliffe on the spot

2009-02-20 00:00

“I’VE just come back from Cuba, and did you know they’ve named a street after you?”

With these simple words the “most famous white woman in South Africa”, Evita Bezuidenhout, put combative eThekwini municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe under the spotlight at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Wednesday evening.

Ignoring the jeers and boos from the audience, the ANC stalwart answered Evita’s questions about the council’s controversial street renaming policy, which has prompted some residents to spray paint over the new street names.

Sutcliffe said that out of the 44 000 street names in the metropolitan council area, the council renamed only 100, after consultation with residents and other political parties — prompting shouts of “what consultation” and “rubbish”.

Asked if he intends changing any more street names, Sutcliffe replied that they might tackle the remaining 43 900 and that the name of the Sneddon would be changed to the Joseph Stalin Theatre. Evita’s response: ‘Well you’d better do it before April 22, because you might be looking for a job after that.”

She also gifted the use of her name to the municipality for the renaming process, but asked that they only use it on a nice straight boulevard. Cul-de-sacs, she added, should be used only for the likes of Che Guevara.

Closing the interview, Evita asked if Sutcliffe was serious when he said it is important that a person not be in a position like his for more than 10 years.

The city manager said he stands by his words.

“So how much longer have you got to go?” Evita asked. “Three years,” Sutcliffe replied, prompting groans from the audience.

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