De Klerk road name change to go ahead

The proposal to rename Table Bay Boulevard to FW de Klerk Boulevard will go ahead.

“We are going to council on January 28 and, subject to approval in council, the remaining of the road will take place,” the spokesperson for Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s office, Pierrinne Leukes, said this morning.

On Wednesday, councillor Brett Herron said that the proposal complied with the city’s naming policy.

The policy states that citizens of Cape Town and South Africa may be considered in their lifetime if they have received international recognition of the highest kind.

Herron said former president FW de Klerk fell within that category.

The 79-year-old was president from September 1989 to May 1994. He was the last head of state of South Africa under the apartheid era.

In 1993, he won the Nobel Peace Prize with struggle icon Nelson Mandela for their role in ending apartheid.

De Klerk was in favour of the idea provided the street that was to be named after him had a neutral name, his foundation reportedly told the committee. Herron said the final decision was up to the council.

On Wednesday, De Klerk said he was honoured that Table Bay Boulevard may be renamed after him if the Cape Town council accepted a proposal by the city’s naming committee.

“I am honoured and touched by the decision of the City of Cape Town’s Naming Committee to recommend the renaming of Table Bay Boulevard in my honour,” he said.

“I would sincerely like to thank all those – including many prominent residents of the Cape – who have supported this initiative.”

Both the African National Congress and the Congress of South African Trade Unions were against the name change.

Cosatu’s Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the City of Cape Town was comparing De Klerk and former president Nelson Mandela.

“The reality is that Mandela was a liberator of the people of South Africa and a man who aspired to undo the legacy of apartheid.

“De Klerk on the other hand was an architect of apartheid and responsible for implementing a system that brutally oppressed the majority.”

ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said De Klerk was “not a messiah”.

“He was part of apartheid. He cannot be a messiah. He did not liberate us,” Kodwa said.

If it were their decision, the ANC would not rename Table Bay Boulevard after the former president.

“The ANC wouldn’t name an institution after FW de Klerk. Renaming is part of our heritage and he played no part in our revolution,” he said.

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