The eThekwini Municipality would like to respond to the article under the heading “Debate Still Open” which appeared  English daily newspaper, Sowetan of 10th May on page 6. The quotation attributed to Mr Sipho Cele, eThekwini Municipality’s Deputy City Manager; Governance Cluster, is grossly distorted. He was approached by the journalist seeking some information on the progress on street renaming. 

Responding to the journalist’s questions, he stated that he was not able to comment whether the public has rejected the renaming or not because the deadline for accepting proposals is the 11th May 2007. He also told the writer that after the deadline, officials will collate information, and make a report to the Masakhane, Grants-In-Aid, Non-Racism and Non-Sexism Committee. This committee will then deliberate on the report and make recommendations to the Executive Committee (EXCO) and then passed to full Council for endorsement. Mr Cele also stressed to the writer that it is the prerogative of the full Council to accept or reject the proposals.

We deny the statement in the Sowetan  attributed to Sipho, “If most of the residents are against the changes, we won’t continue because we can’t act against the will of the people”. This was definitely not stated by Mr Cele.

The renaming goes through a set process and until that process is exhausted results cannot be predicted by officials. At its meeting held at the Pinetown Civic Centre yesterday 9th May  2007, Chairperson of the Masakhane, Grants-In-Aid, Non-Racism and Non- Sexism Committee, Councillor Zandile Gumede, told members that the process was on track and that she may call a special meeting of the Committee to deal with the renaming report that the officials would prepare once the deadline for submissions is reached.

We need to stress that it is the prerogative of Council to take a decision for or against proceeding with renaming.