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Twenty city streets are set to be renamed, executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa revealed on Tuesday. He said a decision on which streets would undergo name changes and which would retain their names would be taken at the Tshwane Metro Council’s monthly meeting on Wednesday.
The municipality has identified a number of streets, spread across the Tshwane metro area, which are set for change.
Addressing a media briefing after his State of the City address at the Pretoria City Hall on Tuesday, Ramokgopa said a final decision would be taken by the full council on Wednesday.
He noted that the municipality had started with the process of renaming 27 streets in 2007.
“In spite of successfully concluding the mandatory participation process, the city never finalised the renaming process, and we wish to conclude this process by the end of this financial year.
“We are encouraged by the sheer determination and resoluteness of all political parties represented in the council to conclude this matter is a manner that realises social cohesion.
“We are not reinventing the wheel but are taking the process forward,” he said.
Ramokgopa said the name change issue was not an ANC issue and that all political parties represented in the council had been consulted on the matter.
He added that the new names would represent all racial groups, including Afrikaners.
“There are those Afrikaner religious leaders and academics who played an important role in the country’s liberation struggle,” said Ramokgopa. “We must really tell the true story,” he added.
There was a need to ensure that there was racial harmony and cohesion in the city. “We need to demonstrate to the entire country how we can resolve an emotive issue,” said Ramokgopa.
Indications are that Paul Kruger and Pretorius streets could retain their names.
According to Ramokgopa, the whole section of Paul Kruger Street between the Pretoria railway station, passing through Church Square to the Pretoria Zoo, would be upgraded to demonstrate how the council intends to adapt, shape and improve the inner city to be more accommodating for non-motorised commuting.
On the issue of the Pretoria/ Tshwane name change, Ramokgopa said they would seek a meeting with Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile to provide clarity on his assertion for further consultation.
“It should be remembered that council has fulfilled its legislative obligations on this matter, and it is now in the hands of the minister to give final determination. We commit to inform the residents of Tshwane and the country on the outcomes of our engagement with the minister,” he said.
According to Ramokgopa, Mashatile has indicated that there is a need for wider consultation on the matter.
Ramokgopa said they would like the matter to be finalised “so that we can concentrate on service delivery issues”.
Touching on the bus rapid transit issue, Ramokgopa stated that construction from Pretoria’s CBD to Menlyn, via Sunnyside and Hatfield, was expected to start in July.
The first BRT station would be constructed in Hatfield by the end of July and, according to Ramokgopa, the process of procuring the first BRT buses for the implementation of the system was in progress.
“The public is called upon to participate in the naming of the BRT, and this process should be concluded by the end of April,” he said.
Ramokgopa said the “notoriously unreliable” Tshwane Bus Service (TBS) was receiving the council’s urgent attention.
“It is appropriate at this time to apologise profusely to the loyal users of the TBS for the poor service. We will be considering and approving a turnaround strategy for the TBS by the end of April 2012,” he said.
According to Ramokgopa, the turnaround will address the need to replenish the fleet; retire some of the fleet; electronic fare collection; scheduling of routes; and overall management of the TBS.
“An efficient, reliable and safe TBS will serve as a feeder and distribution service to the BRT as part of the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network,” said the mayor.
Meanwhile, the municipality is expected to conclude a partnership agreement with the Tsela Tshweu Consortium on the new municipal headquarters, Tshwane House.
The agreement will cover issues around the design, construction, financing and full service operation of the headquarters for a period of 25 years from completion of construction in 2014.
Pre-construction work on site will begin next month with the delivery of the first building materials. A new state-of-the-art council chamber is expected to be completed as early as February 2014, and the last building three months later.
“In order to make way for site works leading to later construction, all staff located in the present Munitoria will be moved to the Isivuno Building across the street from the site in April 2012,” said Ramokgopa.