Mayor Obed Mlaba and City Manager Dr Michael Sutcliffe today welcomed news that   Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan and Provincial and Local Government, Sydney Mufamadi would be traveling to KwaZulu-Natal to engage with all parties on the issue of street renaming. “We echo the concerns expressed by Cabinet about the expressed threats of violence from some of those who have voiced opposition to the street renaming process. We welcome Cabinet’s decision to address this matter and look forward to welcoming them to eThekwini,” Mayor Mlaba said.

A spokesman today said Cabinet had expressed concern about the mounting tensions over the street renaming process following incidents of thuggery and violence that broke out during Tuesday’s march by the Inkatha Freedom Party and Democratic Alliance to protest against a second set of street renaming which has been put out for public consultation.

After yesterday’s Cabinet meeting it was announced that Dr Jordan and Mr Mufamadi would be traveling to KwaZulu-Natal to engage all players on the matter. City Manager Dr Michael Sutcliffe said of particular concern was that a high powered assault rifle with telescopic lenses with one round already in the chamber was confiscated during the march and threats that have been made by some opponent to the street renaming process.

Mayor Mlaba said: “We are disturbed by expressed threats of violence and talk about shedding blood over this issue. Such talk is particularly dangerous in a province like KwaZulu-Natal with our history. “In the decade and a half after our first democratic election, we have lived in a province that has found peace. To unsettle that now because some people object to a democratic and consultative process that has been decreed by national law is totally unacceptable.”

Dr Sutcliffe repeated earlier comments from the Council leadership that the street renaming process would continue. “Despite the emotive response from some quarters, this process has been put out for consultation and some chose to respond and others did not.

The publication of the names was yet a further step we took to engage the public. That engagement is now happening, tragically with threats of violence from opponents, and we will soon be in a position to take this process to its logical conclusion.”