Court to rule on Pretoria name change row

2013-04-18 08:10

Pretoria - Judgment on a bid for an urgent interdict against the removal of street names in Pretoria will be given this week, the North Gauteng High Court ruled on Wednesday evening.

After a lengthy session which lasted after 21:00 in court, Judge Bill Prinsloo said he reserved his judgment until Friday.

"My predicament is that I am not sure when I will be able to give the judgment but I know that I have to do it quickly in one way or the other.

“I am reserving the judgment until Friday subject to postponing that (date) on short notice. If I find that the demands of this urgent court are so great that I can’t do it, I will let you (the parties) know,” he said.

The application, brought by AfriForum, sought interim relief pending the finalisation of a review application process regarding the decision by the city council to change the street names.

‘Open to review’

AfriForum’s legal representative, advocate Reinhard Groenewald, argued that the Tshwane metro’s decision to rename neutral streets like Zambezi Drive was questionable.

“The reason given for the street name changes was because they are offensive, a colonial legacy and a legacy of apartheid. There is no rational connection between Church Street or Zambezi Drive with those categories.

“If they (Tshwane metro) go outside their own decision, such decisions are open to review,” said Groenewald.

He said the change of street names would cause inconvenience to people as the new names were unknown and not available on maps and navigation accessories.

“If, for example, one’s relatives are on the way to Pretoria, they lose their way and they are stuck in Sefako Makgatho Drive (former Zambesi Drive). If they call you and give you the new street, that name is in no map.

“They get stuck there at 2 o’clock in a purely unsafe country. There is practical potential harm,” said Groenewald.

‘You ask’

The Tshwane metro, represented by advocate Terry Motau, SC, had initially proposed to the court that the application was not urgent and should be struck off the roll. After that bid failed, Motau then presented the municipality’s version to the court.

“My lord, if you are used to getting petrol at a Sasol garage and later (the same garage) is now called BP, is there a risk that you would get lost? The issue is not that because now Vermeulen (Street) is now called Madiba (Street) and coming from Joburg does that mean I am not going to find the court?

“We know what happens if you get to a place which you don’t know. You get to a shop, garage or a restaurant and you ask,” said Motau.

Dual names

He said suggestions that tourists and diplomats were used to the old Pretoria street names were not supported by facts.

“We tour overseas countries and we rely on tour guides. Which diplomat or tourist is lost? We do not know the facts but I am illustrating the dangers of speculation,” said Motau.

He requested the court to dismiss AfriForum’s application with costs.

Several street name signs in the capital city have been bearing dual names but recently the old street names had been vanishing from the posts.

In his state-of-the-city address earlier this month, Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the dual street name signs displayed on 27 streets in the city would now be removed, after the expiration of a set six-month period.

"We have exceeded that (six months') period. Now is the time that Lilian Ngoyi (Street) comes to life and Van der Walt (Street) goes to rest," said Ramokgopa.

  • Tim Green - 2013-04-18 08:30

    These are just normal Afrikaans street names... 100s of people with those surnames. 20 years later its your own fault if you still associate it with Appartheid. And why must it be that ALL the names being replaced are replaced with Xhosa or Zulu? Why not mix up some English names and or other neutral Afrikaans names?

      Mark Frater - 2013-04-18 09:01

      I have no issue with them changing the street names. For each street name they change they could instead have fed hundreds of their people, their voters, their kind. Instead they choose to change a street name and let their people starve and die in the crime hub we call SA. This is perfectly fine. Let them one day explain themselves to their own kind.... that is one day when their kind FINALLY catch a wake up... oh who am I kidding.

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 09:28

      @Tim, you don't think the criterion is tribal, right? coz its not. @MWF, psychological redress is more important than physical. the fact that our children will grow calling these struggle heroes will force them to know about who they are, something that is more important than anything else.

      Rameetse Benjamin Mokgoatjana - 2013-04-18 09:36

      MWF i think you are right,maybe we should also leave this 'kind' alone to name the streets after their 'own kind'. After all the 'crime hub we call SA' is theirs.

      DeAndre Sosa - 2013-04-18 09:48

      @Tim Green Clearly you havent been to pretoria. Next time do your research before spewing garbage on blogs. Schoeman changed to Francis Baard Hendrick Verwoerd changed to Johan Heyns Michael Brink changed to Nico Smith Queen Wilhelmina Ave changed to Florence Ribeiro Walker Charles changed to Justice Mohammed

  • paul.kershaw.18 - 2013-04-18 08:54

    The issue should not about attachment to a racist past. The renaming of the streets to more newer politically motivated names is however. Even the beloved ANC promised that airports and other major structures would not be politicized by renaming them. JHB International airport then came into being - all good. Say "Goodbye" to the past. Then it was once again renamed to OR Tambo International Airport. The ANC only do this for political gain and nothing else so they look good in the eyes of their doting members..... One realizes that they are only looking out for themselves and no-one else, not even their adoring (and declining) membership population. I vote that Zambezi drive (and more)stays as it is.

  • Philip Venter - 2013-04-18 08:58

    Why don't they fix corruption, crime, poverty, poor public service, sickness, lack of infrastructure, education and incompetence first then we can debate on whether or not the street names should be changed or not. The ANC really needs to get their priorities straight.

  • Mordikaai Speak - 2013-04-18 09:01

    Wow Alex strong feelings when the very people that were supposedly oppressed do not know or use the new names let alone know who the people that are being honoured. Reading the article only two streets are named and they have nothing to do with oppression. A rose by any other name is still a rose. To change street names will not change structure or ability let alone the way human kind thinks. Life changing actions are the only thing that will bring about change not window dressing.

      DeAndre Sosa - 2013-04-18 09:50

      I use the new names, they are on my GPS and majority of people in Pretoria that I know use the new names.

  • Mira Sturmair - 2013-04-18 09:02

    I don't have a problem with change, must be changed for positive change, at moment its all about power and crime......people who always bring on racism need to wipe their shoulders a few times and rid the chip of their shoulders.....Pretoria is world known name, people of today need to make positive changes within themselves and stop this bull about living with the blast from the past and lets make it a better tomorrow....

  • Keri Asherson - 2013-04-18 09:03

    Waste of time and money... money and time would be better spent on improving education and medical services

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 09:29

      I'm sure you wont agree with me when i say the millions pumped to rhino protection is a senseless waste. Am I right?

      Steve Ritchie - 2013-04-18 10:05

      So Azande, you obviously are an informed and educated citizen. Keri's point of view is that money spent on improving education, health and other services is preferable to changing street names. What we do today has a direct effect on our children's futures, much the same as doing what we can to save an endangered animal species, will at least give our children the opportunity to view them at game reserves in the future and not have to read about how we did nothing about saving the animal from extinction. Or is it your culture to lay waste to everything so that the children can be brainwashed and kept hungry. I fully understand the need to change things historically, but it is not rocket-science to see that there are much bigger fish to fry first. Priorities.

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 10:53

      @Steve, fair comment. However, I guess our perspective on what should be a priority is different and I think we should acknowledge and respect that. I think political redress should be priority in a country that has been liberated from a brutal system such as apartheid. I further believe that this part of that redress. People come first and animals come last in my list of priorities. We really cannot leave the psychological effect caused by these names of apartheid heroes unattended.

  • Feeble Gastro - 2013-04-18 09:13

    This Terry Motau (SC nogal!) sounds about as dumb as the average ANC supporter (which he most probably is). What stupid arguments he uses.

      Feeble Gastro - 2013-04-18 09:22

      He and Ramokgopa share two brain cells, and now they are spreading those two around. They are now officially running on empty. Par for the ANC course and cause.

  • Rameetse Benjamin Mokgoatjana - 2013-04-18 09:15

    When names are still new they will obviously be unknown and will have to be learned, again if they are not on the maps and navigation systems we simply put them there, we don't pull them down. That is, we won't pull them down.

      DeAndre Sosa - 2013-04-18 09:53

      These news24 bitter racist idiots can give you thumbs down all day! fact is, the names will change whether they like it or not! and the sad part THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT EXCEPT MOAN ABOUT IT ON NEWS24 :)

      Anthony Spruyt - 2013-04-18 10:19

      Ignorant buffoons. Do you think digital and hard copy maps across the world update themselves automagically?! Each time a name is changed it creates expenditure which is non essential and not required. Priorities are skewed! There is no reason to change something that nothing is wrong with, then again that chip on your shoulder says different lol.

      DeAndre Sosa - 2013-04-18 10:32

      Another bitter keyboard warrior lol like I said, you can comment all you want but there is nothing you can do about it. Sorry they had to erase your apartheid heroes like that.

      Anthony Spruyt - 2013-04-18 11:03

      Ignorance is bliss and brain matter quite rare in your case.

  • jeremy thorpe - 2013-04-18 09:15

    I can understand that one or two of the old street names were offensive - DF Malan Drive in particular! But, apart from Zambezi Drive, why change Church St - which is historic and completely non-offensive? The other small issue I have is that the new names are generally the full names of individuals - and thus long and complex. I think they would have been more acceptable if they were just the surnames of people......

      Talbot Turner - 2013-04-18 09:49

      I agree with you Jeremy. What fustrates me greatly is the cost that is incurred with changing mutliple street names. The labor and the materials for the signs can be very costly. It is not a cost that should me considered lightly, our taxes could be used for more important issues, like ensuring that school children in rural areas receive textbooks and perhaps an increase in government housing. I agree certain street names may be offensive but I fail to see a significant reason to change Church Street, for example.

      DeAndre Sosa - 2013-04-18 09:54

      "Zambezi and Church are not racist names, they just don't represent or mean anything to the majority of our people"

  • Bangakupalula Trustee - 2013-04-18 09:21

    Oh nkosi yam, let thy will be done

  • Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 09:21

    It was clear long ago that AfriForum stands to protect the apartheid legacy. We know that they stand for whites interest hence they have no say or action against the many social ills affecting the blacks communities. Name change is going ahead. People just need to get used to the fact that change is inevitable and certain. We cant be driving up and down streets bearing apartheid architects' names.

      jeremy thorpe - 2013-04-18 09:44

      Well Azande, I can't speak for Afriforum - but to suggest that the street names are all those of "apartheid architects" is just silly. What about Church and Zambezi? And most of the names are just those of street surveyors, city officials and the like. They built the city, not the ANC - so why shouldn't they name it?

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 11:15

      we own the land and everything on it.

      jeremy thorpe - 2013-04-18 11:49

      Azande, who is "we?" I assume you're not suggesting that only black people should own land - because that would be racist! If you want to own land, do as "we" all have to up some money and buy some land!

  • Truth.nnete - 2013-04-18 09:29

    Afrikaners should live up to their name and be proud of african names.This is Africa.

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 09:33

      and its for Africans.

      Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2013-04-18 10:33

      Azande Futhi. Strange when I was presented with the Luthuli award, all the black people present thanked me for my efforts during the struggle. None of them thought I, as a white, didn't belong here. Probably had more sense and respect than you have.

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 11:11

      @jacqui, somehow i want to believe your internal turmoil is forcing you to misread my comment. did i say anything in my comment that suggests your allegation.

  • ChrisHolloway - 2013-04-18 09:32

    Here is a solution, number the streets indtead of naming them, north to south, number STREET, and east to west number AVENUE. If you are looking for the corner of 13th street and 46th Avenue, it is as easy as misunderstanding a politician. But then, the government aren't looking for solutions, they want to show the POWA!!!

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 09:35

      Judging from your comment, you are not against name changing.

  • Werner Nel - 2013-04-18 09:32

    Go ahead please ANC. With the derelect buildings like Schubart park, Kruger park and the decline of Scummy side this will be in order. Thanks

  • Stephan Coetzee - 2013-04-18 09:33

    I think there is method behind the madness. Nationalization.... If you own a house in Zambezi drive, Pretoria and it changes to Sefako Makgatho Drive, Tshwane. Your title isn't registered as Sefako Makgatho Drive, Tshwane.. Do you still own it? Just asking

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 09:38

      If you daughter marries to Azande Futhi and changes her lastname to Futhi, is she still your daughter?

      Stephan Coetzee - 2013-04-18 09:50

      Yes, she would still be my daughter and a widow.

      DeAndre Sosa - 2013-04-18 09:55

      lol hahaha Nice one Azande

      Azande Futhi - 2013-04-18 10:58

      hahahahahaa @stephan. dont tell me you would kill me, your son in law. @sosa, stephan is a funny guy. lol

  • Nthokolose Puleng Marope - 2013-04-18 09:38

    Dn't u tink is de tim boers also stp calin thmslfs afrikaners cos dt is equal 2 africans n dey r nt africans.

      Mabina Maledu - 2013-04-18 10:04

      Puleng wa flopa..

      Anthony Spruyt - 2013-04-18 10:22

      I think it is time that people with your thought and logic capabilities are put down for the greater good.

      Nthokolose Puleng Marope - 2013-04-18 10:25

      Mabina tel me wts de diferent btwin afrikaner n african?

      Nthokolose Puleng Marope - 2013-04-18 10:52

      Wow Anthony dts a litle bd harsh cumin frm u dn't u tink? Kwakwakwa I thot de kind of u dn't fil pain n dey dn't care abt wt's hapenin in SA.

      aarchaic - 2013-04-18 11:36

      I Think you need to learn to spell and write properly before you can make any kind of positive comments...

      Annelene Meterki Minnie - 2013-04-18 12:37

      we used to do this in grade 3...but i'll share this bit of grade 3 logic with you... People from america - americans people from africa - Africans People from australia - australians People from europe - europeans you see where i'm going with this?????

      Clinton Tapiwa Mpete - 2013-05-05 12:25


  • sxp - 2013-04-18 09:46

    This court should ones and for all stop this idiotic name changes. It adds no value at all but simply steals from hardworking people.

  • Thabo Thabiso - 2013-04-18 09:56

    Pretorious is not my father,it is must to change all non-african racist names names and if ANC fails we will vote DA into power because we know how to make their gorvenment ungovernable if we want something changed

  • Londile My-Girl Cozijnsen-Dlamini - 2013-04-18 10:13

    in bellville cape town there is still a street named Verwoed Street. And a school named after Malan. Now I know a lot of people are opposed to name changes but come on guys let's be fair. Isn't it the same as naming a street Hitler Street or with other names in the middle of Germany?!!! Some names do need to be changed and should've been changed a long time ago.

      Anthony Spruyt - 2013-04-18 11:13

      Yes but if you read the article you will see they are arguing that the government/councils are changing names that are non offensive or have no ties with apartheid. Change offensive names within reason all you want, no one can oppose that. But changing just for the sake of changing is wasteful and just plain stupid.

  • Elmarie May - 2013-04-18 10:27

    I've been living in Pretoria for almost 5 years and at night it is so easy to get lost now that all the old names has been taken down too. I don't mind the changes as such, even though I feel it is a huge waste of money and will confuse people who haven't got updated maps or haven't been here in a few years. I just think that why not then change everything all at once instead of doing it bit by bit by bit and costing more and more each time for updating of maps and such.

  • Ben Sassman - 2013-04-18 11:08

    Lets put the political reasons aside for a while and think of the financial implications to Corporate (Pretoria), if you change one road name then each company on that street will have to change their street name on their website, their business cards, letterheads etc. Now put together all the companies in down-town Pretoria and you are sitting with a cost of close to R2billion. This survey was conducted in Cape Town when they wanted to change Adderley Street a few years ago, the businesses in Adderley Street would have forked out a total of R931million to update their company information....BTW nice one ALEX...

  • Gremlin - 2013-04-18 12:04

    @ Mpho , you meant to say ruining ! The british taught your ancestors u baffoon ! Your ignorance is your downfall ! Only thing u know how to do with land is leave it Barron and dead !

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