Dullah Omar vs Jan Smuts
Cape Town's attempt to work towards an "inclusive city" seems to have sown division between two of its most historic families.
While its street renaming committee finalised new street names for mayor Patricia de Lille to consider, the family of late ANC stalwart Dullah Omar is unhappy with the street that might be named after him.
It has been proposed that Vanguard Drive become Dullah Omar Drive. But the Omar family have asked for Jan Smuts Drive - and want nothing else.
Mayoral committee member Brett Herron said in 2007, when the renaming process started, that the ANC proposed the change to Jan Smuts Drive. The only reason given was that "there is no historical connection between Jan Smuts and communities where the road is located".
In the same year, a panel of experts suggested to the council that only a portion of Jan Smuts should be renamed to honour Omar.
During the recent public participation process, Herron said, "96% of those who responded were opposed to the renaming".
But the naming committee agreed that Omar should be honoured and Vanguard Drive was proposed as an alternative.
"Ultimately, the mayor will decide. I am quite sure that the mayor, and the council, will consider the views of the family very seriously and that we will not implement a change that they do not accept."
ANC ICON'S FAMILY REFUSES TO BUDGE
IT IS Jan Smuts or nothing, said Dullah Omar's sister, Latifa Omar, about the proposed name change yesterday.
She said her family would not allow the city to call Vanguard Drive after her brother. Renaming Jan Smuts Drive, one of the city's longest streets, after him befitted the struggle stalwart, she said.
Cape Town sai d last week that its naming committee had recommended 24 streets for renaming across the city and it had handed the list to mayor Patricia de Lille for consideration.
"About a week ago, the mayor phoned my sister-in-law Farieda to say that the city would rename Vanguard Drive in his name.
"We then made her aware of the fact that during the public participation process in February the proposal was to name Jan Smuts Drive after him and not Vanguard Drive," said Latifa.
The proposal had come from the Athlone community and Vanguard Drive had been earmarked to be renamed after Govan Mbeki, she said.
"None of us can recall that there was any public participation or any consultation with the community that lives alongside Vanguard Drive when it was decided to change the proposal to Omar," Latifa said.
"We do not support changing Govan Mbeki to Dullah Omar because we are concerned that they were comrades, they were friends, they were in the struggle together for a new South Africa."
Omar was the first justice minister in former president Nelson Mandela's cabinet and was transport minister at the time of his death in 2004.
The city's Brett Herron said the committee had received 19000 public comments and some names would remain unchanged. - Philani Nombembe
DON'T TOUCH HIM ON HIS HIGHWAY
THE family of former prime minister General Jan Smuts is distressed and disappointed by the prospect that his name might be removed from one of Cape Town's busiest roads.
The City of Cape Town is in the process of renaming streets and the family of late struggle hero and justice minister Dullah Omar wants Jan Smuts Drive to be named after him.
Yesterday, Smuts's 77-year-old granddaughter, Katusha de Kock, asked that Omar be honoured "elsewhere".
"Hopefully I - or members of the family - can see someone in the city council and give our side of the story and say that we feel distressed because we were never informed about this proposed change of name," De Kock said.
"We have no objection, of course, to Mr Omar being honoured by [the] naming [of] a highway after him, but why that one?"
De Kock was also interviewed on 567 Cape Talk, and said: "He had absolutely nothing to do with the apartheid regime, that came after him - after his death. He had no idea of that sort of setup at all.
"Not at all, I don't think he would have gone along with it," she said.
Later, she told The Times that her oupa "certainly wouldn't have condoned apartheid".
"I was 15 when he died. But we knew him well. We spent every weekend with our grandparents on their farm outside Pretoria. We went for walks in Cape Town when he was here in parliament ... He was just our grandfather and a very loving and playful grandfather."
Smuts, according to South African History On-line, was born in Riebeeck West in Western Cape on May 24 1870. - Nashira Davids