Two "burghers"' are seen at the base of Paul Kruger's statue in Church Square, Pretoria. File photo: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA)
Two "burghers"' are seen at the base of Paul Kruger's statue in Church Square, Pretoria. File photo: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA)

Push to ditch colonial-era names in all public spaces across SA

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Apr 15, 2019

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Johannesburg - Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the ANC-led government will push to ensure that all public spaces named after colonial and apartheid masterminds, including towns, are changed if reconciliation is to be achieved in the country.

On Sunday, the governing party presented its manifesto through its subcommittee on social cohesion and nation-building.

“We cannot have public spaces named after those people. That would not be reconciliation. It would be capitulation. Our project is the project of reconciliation. This is like asking the Germans to have (Adolf) Hitler in their public spaces,” Mthethwa said.

ANC national executive committee member and subcommittee chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, said the current social ills and degeneration of morals - including corruption, femicide and substance abuse - were a result of the legacy of apartheid, which he said the ANC-led government attempted to root out.

“Apart from having established the moral regeneration movement, President Cyril Ramaphosa has convened a national interfaith gathering to launch a social movement for renewal to ensure that this matter is addressed at the highest possible level,” Motshekga said.

He said a social movement would help the country as a mirror through which people would re-examine their state of morality as individuals, households and communities. “The rationale for a civil society-led moral regeneration effort is sound given the moral and ethical fracturing caused by colonial and apartheid misrule” he said.

He said the government had also battled to root out racism and ensure social cohesion since the party took over in 1994.

He said the party would push for legislation of the Hate Crimes Bill which will address hate crimes perpetrated along racial, gender, religious and sexual identity along orientation lines.

“To that end, the aim is two-fold. First, to ensure that there is a public education awareness drive so as to quell the propensity or inclination in perpetrating these crimes. Thus the preventive aspect is an important consideration in terms of the letter and spirit of the Hate Crimes law.

“However, in terms of clearly premeditated transgressions, the law will ensure that there are consequences for the perpetrators and these consequences are severe, as a form of deterrent to potential perpetrators,” he said.

The party would also back plans by the government to revise history as a subject.

It would also make it compulsory in school as this would restore a sense of identity among the majority of the population, Motshekga said.

“We come from a past where our sense of history was distorted, disfigured and dismembered.

"Our erstwhile captors had sought to subject us to their own memory - thus, to their own past, their own history, to which we have no claim, except as hapless, savage people who were rescued by well-meaning colonialists,” Motshekga said.

Political Bureau

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