An application has been filed to the Western Cape High Court to halt the renaming of Keizersgracht Street to Hanover Street. As celebrations were held on Heritage Day yesterday at the official renaming ceremony in District Six, a sudden application was submitted by Achmat Williams of the District Six Reference Group to halt the approved renaming and to investigate the public participation process.
The renaming ceremony was hosted by the City of Cape Town and the District Six Working Committee. Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato as well as the District Six Working Committee (D6WC) are cited as the respondents in the case.
“I contacted the office of the mayor to have a roundtable discussion regarding the renaming of the street – the mayor refused to speak to me. I contacted Mr Ajam [chairperson the D6WC] – they [the D6WC] refused to speak to me. Then, when I could not get a hold of these people, I went to court to get the order,” said Williams.
Williams says that his appearance at court yesterday resulted in the judge granting him the opportunity to return to court to finalise his case at a later stage.
“I submitted an application to the court and was given the opportunity to appear yesterday morning. The judge has now given me the opportunity to come back to court to finalise this thing about the renaming of the street.”
The argument laid out by Williams centres around what he feels was an unfair and “bulldozed” public participation process that failed to consult and include the relevant stakeholders and people of District Six.
Williams says he was not aware of the initial public participation process and feels that it was not advertised appropriately, despite media coverage.
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“I feel there was not enough consultation and I want to know where the advert was placed and who responded…it was not a fair process. It was a process bulldozed through the department,” said Williams.
“A small portion of Hanover Street does exist and they cannot just rename another street and say it will be Hanover Street. It’s unacceptable.”
All role players in the now passed renaming process will be notified of the pending case, according to Williams.
He expects to return to court within the next week or two.
“…We will notify the role players to put the name on hold.”
“If they carry on and the court decides it was illegal, they will bear the cost,” he warned.
The District Six Working Committee declined to comment.