It’s ‘stealing history’ to rename Vanderkloof Dam after Mandela, says FF Plus

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Vanderkloof is the second largest dam in South Africa. Picture: Volksblad
Vanderkloof is the second largest dam in South Africa. Picture: Volksblad

Renaming the Vanderkloof Dam after former President Nelson Mandela will amount to “stealing history”, and will be “actively opposed” by the FF Plus.

The political party’s Northern Cape leader, Dr Wynand Boshoff, said that the plan to rename South Africa’s second biggest dam as part of the centenary celebrations for Mandela was “ludicrous”.

The name change was revealed by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe as he announced the inter-ministerial committee’s plans to celebrate the centenary events of Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

The renaming of the Vanderkloof Dam was due to take place in September.

“It is nothing short of stealing history,” said Boshoff.

The dam was initially named after then waterworks minister, Pieter Mattheus Kruger le Roux, “an acknowledgement of Le Roux’s vision and great contribution to making the Orange River Irrigation Scheme a reality”.

“It can be stated without fear of contradiction that the devastating droughts of the past few years would have had a much greater impact had the visionary leaders not implemented this scheme in the sixties,” Boshoff claimed.

South Africa’s biggest dam, Gariep, was initially named after HF Verwoerd, regarded as the main architect of apartheid, because he was the greatest driving force behind the project.

When the HK Verwoerd and PK le Roux dams were given neutral names, namely the Gariep Dam and Vanderkloof Dam, the FF Plus accepted the change as part of a peaceful settlement, said Boshoff.

“It is ludicrous that since 1994, no comparable projects that can be named after former President Nelson Mandela have been undertaken and completed. The FF Plus will actively oppose this renaming.”

#MandelaFridays for the needy

Radebe said the centenary of Mandela’s birth would be celebrated under the theme “be the legacy”.

South Africans were asked to observe the last Friday of the month as #MandelaFridays and help those in need.

He listed a series of events dedicated to Mandela, including the June 16, 1976, commemoration, to be held in Limpopo; the 2018 Comrades Marathon, held on June 10, will be dedicated to Mandela; the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture will be delivered by former US president Barack Obama at the Ellis Park Arena on July 17; while on July 18, the government will hold a national event at Nasrec in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day.

Also, in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, the 64th and final antenna of the MeerKat will be dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

Other events dedicated to Mandela include the Nelson Mandela football challenge on September 29 and the 2018 Big Walk co-ordinated by the department of sport and recreation on October 7.

Spanish football league winners FC Barcelona will take on PSL winners Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on Wednesday, May 16, also as part of the Madiba centenary celebrations.

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