ANC-WC rejects Mayor Helen Zille`s renaming panel

ANC-WC rejects Mayor Helen Zille`s renaming panel

Tuesday 12 June 2007

The Renaming Panel put together by Mayor Helen Zille is not fit for purpose. There is no-way that Rhoda Kadalie can exercise an impartial role as Chairperson. Apart from the fact that she is a close friend and supporter of Helen Zille, she is a strident and polemical critic of the ANC. Many if not most of the great heroes of the City, a good number of whom paid with their lives in the struggle for democracy, were members of the African National Congress or the Congress Alliance.

The Panel does not reflect the demographic diversity of the city on the one hand and is too heavily weighted on the other. It is important to have academics and researchers on the panel but community activists and active participants in the struggles that have shaped the city`s heritage and culture should also be represented.

Community consultation, of which there has been too little in too short a time, is a necessary but insufficient condition for a proper process. Many heroes of the struggle, some of who are buried in foreign lands, their remains not yet even returned to their families, are often unknown to communities.

Leadership and public education as well as consultation are required.

No insult is intended to the good women and men on the panel. However there is a grave danger that the Panel is used to deliver on a set of proposals that depoliticises the role that thousands of people played in the struggle against apartheid and cloaks this in a mantle of pseudo consultation and academic rigour. This will divide the city and not engender shared celebration of a proud history of struggle against slavery, colonialism and apartheid.

It is for these reasons that Mayor Zille should appoint a new Chairperson and reconstitute the panel.

For further information contact:
Garth Strachan. ANC Media. 083 454 6667