It may not have been a fistfight, but a political battle between the two giant parties. The ANC and EFF were publicly at daggers drawn over which one of them should be credited for the renaming of William Nicol to Winnie Mandela Drive.
Last week, ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula and the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu were also at loggerheads over who should be credited for the renaming of William Nicol to Winnie Mandela after the City announced the move.
The trend of renaming places, streets, and cities has become increasingly common, with the EFF pushing the apartheid system toward the end.
On Tuesday, the City of Joburg led mayor Kabelo Gwamanda renamed William Nicol Drive in Sandton to Winnie Mandela Drive.
In 2018, the City of Joburg Council embarked on an initiative that sought to rename the iconic William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive, paying a heartfelt tribute to the esteemed liberation stalwart, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
From the start, ANC and EFF members were at loggerheads over who would be credited for initiating the renaming of the road.
EFF City of Joburg councillor and caucus leader, Sepetlele Raseruthe, shot down claims by the ANC that the renaming of William Nicole was initiated by them.
“People are claiming easy victory and the community will be confused. We clarify that this motion was from the EFF. We name-dropped William Nicol in particular,” he said.
Raseruthe said that it didn’t matter if the renaming cost a fortune, stating that it was a sentimental value.
The MMC for Public Safety, Mgcini Tshwaku added that renaming other streets is part of their ongoing agenda to recover from the apartheid trauma.
“This is part of the decolonising agenda. We can’t have a situation where when we get our freedom, we still name our streets and statues from the apartheid spies,” Tshwaku said.
He added that the whole system should be shaded to reflect the current state of the country.
Meanwhile, the ANC in Johannesburg said that renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive formed a part of the party's efforts to cement women’s participation in the struggle.
“By placing the name of Mama Winnie Mandela highly on a pedestal, the ANC seeks to create a tangible connection between South Africa's past and its present, fostering a sense of pride and continuity among its citizens,” ANC said in a statement.
Unfortunately, the political battles played out at a sombre time for the Mandela family where the granddaughter of Winnie Mandela, Zoleka Mandela, passed away on Monday after a long battle with cancer.
Tributes continue to pour into her home and family as they mourn her death.