Street Renaming Essay Sample
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ABSTRACT The issue of street renaming has taken another level, where the shift has move away from the intended objective of the policy toward redressing the violation of constitutional rights by those who has powers to influence decision. The issue of contestation has not been about the proposed names but it about constitutional principles, where lack of transparency and involvement of communities as affected parties in the process of choosing names
process of choosing names has been neglected. Since transparency and public participation is regarded as corner stone of democracy, South African municipal system act 2000 stipulates that communities have rights to full participation in any decision that directly or indirectly affect their living condition.
This study comprises of member of the EThekwini municipality, Members of the Opposition Parties (DA & IFP), Ward Councillor and the member of the affected target group (Durban’s Chamber of Commerce CEO and Spar city Centre Manager). This study is qualitative and there aforementioned individuals were accessed through semi-structured interviews. The findings of this study highlighted that there was flawed public participation in the street renaming process due to time constraints, political intolerance, centralised power, poor oversight and lack of effective ward committees.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To investigate the effect of public participation in policy implementation. 2. To determine the influence of politics and public opinion in street renaming. 3. To explore the historical influence in the current street re-naming process. 4. To investigate context sensitivity and perceptions of the public in this policy implementation. KEY QUESTION OF THE STUDY
1. What constitutes genuine and authentic public participation? 2. What are the effects of flawed public participation on policy implementation? 3. How does the political environment influence the policy implementation process? 4. To what extent were the community, cultural and heritage values incorporated into the street re-naming process? 5. What were the criteria for forwarding names?
6. What are the attitudes and opinions of the public towards street re-naming?
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
The issue of street renaming has taken another level, where the shift has move away from the intended objective of the policy toward redressing the violation of constitutional rights by those who has powers to influence decision. The issue of contestation has not been about the proposed names but it about constitutional principles, where lack of transparency and involvement of communities as affected parties in the process of choosing names has been neglected. Since transparency and public participation is regarded as corner stone of democracy, South African municipal system act 2000 stipulates that communities have rights to full participation in any decision that directly or indirectly affect their living condition. The street renaming is indeed an ultimate step towards honoring all the heroes and heroines who sacrificed their life for the freedom and democracy of the republic. Chief among these, are those whom in pursuit of freedom ventured their way through the troubled bridges of apartheid.
“Therefore as eThekwini council we feel honored to be part of such a historic process of ensuring that the names of these great men and women of the struggle remain known even to the generations to come”. It also needs to be said though, that the renaming process by eThekwini Municipality is not being done in isolation, it is in fact a process that is being pursued by cities, towns and provinces in South Africa. It is indeed a democratic process: members of the public will be consulted and given an opportunity to suggest new names. This will ensure that the city we live in is indeed accurately reflecting its people and its history. Certainly people and history mirror very closely together and we need to work as collective in ensuring our steadfast stance against the vandalism of these street names. (Obed Mlaba, 2007) The South African Geographical Names Council Act 118 of 1998 (hereafter referred to as the Geographical Names Act) provided for the establishment of the Geographical Names Council. This Council was tasked with facilitating the transformation of geographical names of the places in South Africa.
Amongst other tasks, the Council was responsible for identifying existing geographical names in need of revision, and advising the Minister of Arts and Culture on the changing, removing, or replacing of geographical names of the public places in the country. In line with the provisions of the Geographical Names Act, the eThekwini Municipality’s Council (hereafter referred to as the municipality) agreed on a process to review and rename streets and public places in the eThekwini Region. The eThekwini Municipality invited comment regarding the renaming of the city’s streets from all members of the public. Advertisements ran on the 09 March 2007, in major local newspapers calling on the public to forward proposals for the renaming of roads, streets, freeways, municipal buildings, community halls, parks and other public places within the municipal region. The public were also encouraged to fax, post and hand deliver proposals or comment to designated centers for review.
Closing date for submission of comments and/or proposals was 30 March 2007. Co-ordinated by the eThekwini Municipality’s Corporate Geographical information System, the municipality received in excess of 12 000 comments and/or objections on the proposed renaming of streets and buildings in eThekwini region. These objections included objections from the Inkatha Freedom Party as well as the Democratic Alliance. According to the city manager, Mr Mike Sutcliffe, over 95% of the objections received were objections against the principle of street re-naming (Ezasegagasini, 2007).
According to the guidelines stipulated in the street renaming charter, it emphases the importance of consulting the affected parties (communities, business and civil societies) with regard to new proposed names prior to implementation. It further emphases the importance of taking into consideration the context sensitiveness of the names against the history and the cultural values of the area. EThekwini Municipal council was less context sensitive in taking into consideration the effect of historical background of civil war between African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party in early nineties.
The reception of eThekwini street renaming has encountered many question around the role of communities and it ability to influence decision making within local government. The involvement of Dr Suttcliffe in the council responsible for approving or rejecting names was questioned by many based on his political affiliation when comes to decision making. This has raised the community to resist the project. Some stakeholders perceived the whole process as less transparent and irresponsive of community concerns. One of the contributing factors behind project resistance by many was rooted in policy agenda setting, where others political parties regarded the whole process as political party agenda setting. They hold a notion that since African National Congress is ruling the municipality, it has used it majority power to influence decision making.
Since this issue is of valance due to historical redress, opposition parties proposed that decision must be based on sound democracy where community concern drive the decision making rather than majority power. Borrowing from international experience, community consultation and participation have proved to be ingredients for accountable and effective local government.
Taylor (2011:5). Local government as the state organ closest to the community incorporates ward committees which serve as instrument or structure to close the gap between local community and the municipality. Partnership and support by people who are the target beneficiaries of the policy is the key in policy effectiveness and success. They had been some growing views that participation by project beneficiaries in design and implementation brings embracement of project objectives, which encourages ownership and collective accountability.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK
This literature review focuses on the concepts of public policy implementation that were identified as vital to the Street Renaming processes which had hindered or contributed to the execution of the project. These concepts have been identified as public participation, top down approach versus bottom up approach and political environment but these will be discussed under the public policy implementation guidelines. Implementation has been defined as the carrying out of a basic policy decision, usually incorporated in a law but can be in form of important decisions.
It has also been defined as those actions by people that are directed at achievement of objectives set forth in the policy decision. South Africa has emphasized the symbolization of participatory democracy and has introduced a novel of experiments to achieve this objective. It is argued that contemporary understanding of community participation in South Africa is informed by the memory of community struggle a radical form of participation against the racist Apartheid State. This means that communities have a richly-textured history of strategic mobilization against exclusionary and discriminatory government practices at the local level. Public Participation
Community participation is the direct involvement/engagement of ordinary people in the affairs of planning, governance and overall development programmes at local or grassroots level, has become an integral part of democratic practice in recent years (Jayal, 2001). Public participation has been defined in various ways by different people, and for a variety of reasons. Seymour Lipset, (2003) defines as an open, accountable process through which individuals and groups within selected communities can exchange views and influence decision-making. It is further defined as a democratic process of engaging people, deciding, planning, and playing an active part in the development and operation of services that affect their lives. South Africa is multi-party, representative democracy, under a constitution which is sovereign and which entrenches human rights. In addition, state power is mostly centralized in the national sphere, with only limited power devolved to provinces and local municipalities.
Despite being a representative democratic system, the South African Constitution and some legislation complement the power of elected politicians with forms of public participation (Buccus: 2007: 09). In the national and provincial spheres, this takes the form of public consultation by legislatures. In the municipal sphere, there are specific requirements for public participation. In addition, the public service has committed itself to being more responsive, accountable and transparent in implementing government policy.
On the whole though, public participation is limited to forms of consultation, usually around needs, rather than any real empowerment in political decision-making or implementation and surveys record low levels of participation (Hemson, 2007). Despite this, given a history of unresponsive bureaucracy, forms of participation could work as a check on all levels of the state’s implementation of housing and other services. Given a political system which is strongly dominated by a single party, such participation could operate to achieve greater accountability than that of the formal political processes. History of Participatory Practice in South Africa
The pre-1976 period: a strategically dormant participatory phase where the largely passive dream for liberation amidst unspeakable forms of oppression and exploitation resulted in imaginary spaces of participation. The 1977-1983 periods: the death of Steve Biko in September 1977 signalled the need not only for community organization and mobilization at the grassroots level, but also community control. Hence, in subsequent years, the multiple spaces of community organization and mobilization throughout South Africa especially after 1980, eventually culminated in the birth of the United Democratic Front (UDF). The UDF claimed operational spaces against the Apartheid State throughout South Africa, sustaining community forms of liberatory struggles at the street and neighborhood levels, often in the name of the banned liberation movements such as the African National Congress (ANC).
The 19841989 period : characterized by an intensifying struggle against the apartheid state from the local to the international arenas, resulting in a range of divestment campaigns and cultural boycotts aimed at any sector connected to the Apartheid State. This period created spaces of governability throughout South Africa. The 1990-1994 period: featured by the legitimization of the liberation movements and the beginning of the consensual politics of negotiation leading to the negotiated settlement of a range of promissory spaces of participation such as the 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme and the 1996 Constitution of South Africa. The former was the outcome of community participation and the latter established the public right to participate in local government planning programmes.
The 1996-2000 period: represented the need for visible, experientially significant forms of social change that gave rise to the establishment of various types of ‘development’ partnerships mediated by socio-historical relations of power and trust resulting in largely truncated spaces of participation as indicated in this article. The 2000-2004 period and beyond: interpreting democratic practices based on an experiential index of the past ten years since the birth of democratic South Africa in1994: from euphoria to disappointment, from generative hope to existential despair, hence the birth of transformative spaces such as the Treatment Action Campaign, Jubilee 2000 and a myriad other local initiatives that seek to democratize the politically liberated spaces in South Africa Top down approach versus bottom up approach
Traditionally, policy implementation has taken the top-down approach where actors involved in implementation work in accordance or obey the rules set by the policy makers. It shows the hierarchical and bureaucratic nature of implementation as a vertical dimension between formal policy makers at the top and frontline managers or street bureaucrats at the local/bottom (Hall 2009; Dorey 2005; Exworthy and Powell 2004). Top-down approach to implementation implies, implementation follows a hierarchical trend, which is placed on policy formulators and implementers relationship or centre-local relationship where the centre is central government making policy formulation and decision and the local being department and agencies responsible for implementation at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Policy implementation by this approach is seen as imposed execution of centrally-defined policy goal by implementers (local) acting as agent for the centre. In all, top-down approach to implementation in literature seen as coercive in nature renders policy implementation as discrete phenomenon distinctively separate from the whole policy process. This approach suggest that “policies are not so much determined by the statutes emanating from governments and parliaments but by the largely autonomous political decisions of the actors directly involved in policy delivery” (Pülzl and Trieb 2007, quoted in Hall 2009 p. 12-13).
In contrast, as “top-down” start from formal decision-making elite formulating their objective and pushing it down for street level bureaucrats to implement, the “bottom-up” starts from identifying actors that directly implement policies usually at the local level to find out the difficulties they encounter, strategies, goals and target, thereby forming a network at the “bottom” where the feedback provided are used to modify future implementation Political Environments
Hypothetically the street renaming is motivated by political changes and environment, taking from a South African context where the country has been operating under the apartheid leadership era. Where the white government dominated all the historical and treasures of the country, this can be linked with fact that most of the public building including the street names have been named after the white leaders who were leading the apartheid government. A study done in Pretoria on street renaming process had illustrated that the street renaming process had been led by the Mayor and his Tshwane Council which consists of different political parties, however even though there were rumors in the media that the negotiations were done by the ruling party ANC but they all agreed that the street names were associated with apartheid and colonialism. In addition to that the political parties had all agreed that everyone’s history should be reflected in the city but they were fully aware that not everyone will be 100% satisfied with the process.
According to the National state of Environment Report- South Africa (goggle: 13-04-12: 1h18pm), the successful implementation of policy is largely a function of political will, adequate funding, good integration and co-ordination between the lead agency and other agencies where functions and responsibilities have been delegated, and a well-trained group of staff to manage programs and projects. The National Environmental Management Act took three years to develop, and needs strong capacity building programmes and commitment of resources at all levels of government to be effectively implemented. The research will adopt Public Policy implementation and Public Participation as core theories of this research paper. Policy implementation is regarded as the accomplishment of policy objectives through the planning and programming of operations and projects so that agreed upon outcomes and desired impacts are achieved (Brynard, 2005; 09).
Implementation process involves the transaction of decision making into action. Van Niekerk et al (2002; 113) argues that policy making is inherently political and is an outcome of political process that involves negotiations, bargaining, persuasion and compromise. Public policy implementation process is the action of decision makers to put into action the decision and remedy the issue that was identified which cause the design of the policy from the onset. In the South African context, implementation research scholars tend to focus on two effective methods that describe the implementation process; top down and bottom up approaches. Top-down supporters see policy designers as the central actors and concentrate their attention on factors that can be manipulated at the national level. Bottom-up supporters emphasis target groups and service deliverers.
Implementation and Elite theory
In trying to break down public policy implementation, we will focus on policy decisions of the street renaming issue and the implementation process. We are then going to use Top-Down and Bottom-Up approaches which will incorporate public participation and power relations. An analytical framework of implementation will be used. Public participation is central and key which involves the theories highlighted. Implementation theory and Elite theory will be used to draw conclusions on the implementation process of street renaming and the decision making phase. Attention will be drawn to the implementation processes and public participation through the use of the theories mentioned above. By using these theories we will be looking to see if consultation of relevant stakeholders has occurred and whether consensus was reached during decision making and the implementation phase.
Our focus will also be on the power dynamics and how decision making was made and which were the contesting parties. Policy implementation focuses on the setting of goals and the action towards achieving those goals, this means that public policy is converted into appropriate action. Sabatier and Mazmanian (1982) view implementation as the carrying out of a basic policy decision usually made in a statute . They also assert that policy decision addresses the identified problem, sets out the objectives that are to be achieved and the wide range of mechanisms to be used in the implementation process. According to Van Meter and Van implementation encompasses action by public or private individuals (or groups) that are that are directed at the achievement of objectives set forth in prior policy decisions (Brynard 2005. P250).
When looking at implementation one looks at the process of trying to achieve a policy objective. Implementation theory suggests ways in which evaluators should incorporate both into their data collection design. One of the integral aspects of implementation theory is the policy process which is the follow on from policy making. It emphasizes on the need to work with a stance on the concept of policy which sees it as complex and ambiguous. What is also highlighted is the importance of negotiation and bargaining in implementation. The theory stresses on the relationship between policy content and context.
The nature of policy may allow for there to be prediction of outcomes during the implementation phase. Elmore (1978) states that failures of implementation are by definition lapses of planning, specification and control. Policy implementation is regarded as the accomplishment of policy objectives through the planning and programming of operations and projects so that agreed upon outcomes and desired impacts are achieved (Brynard, 2005; 09). Implementation process involves the transaction of decision making into action. Van Niekerk et al (2002; 113) argues that policy making is inherently political and is an outcome of political process that involves negotiations, bargaining, persuasion and compromise. Public policy implementation process is the action of decision makers to put into action the decision and remedy the issue that was identified which cause the design of the policy from the onset.
Implementation can be conceptualized as a process, output and outcome. A process of a series of decisions and actions directed towards putting a prior authoritative decision into effect. The main focus will be using the analytic framework using Top-Down and Bottom-Up approach where we look at policy makers versus street level bureaucrats. Top-Down Approach focusing on centralization and control. “The top-down model of policy implementation mostly emphasizes on the ability of decision makers to achieve the set of objectives and control implementation”(Pulzl and Trieb 2006). This model focuses on the promotion of hierarchy when it comes to policy decision making and implementation. The Bottom-Up model on the other hand focuses on decentralization and emphasis of the importance of street level bureaucrats. “The bottom-up model considers local bureaucrats play a central role in policy delivery and it advocates believe that the implementation process is essentially a series of negotiations between all the different implementers”.(Pulzl and Trieb 2006).
Top Down and Bottom-Up approaches to policy implementation will be used and they will provide a critical analysis to the street renaming issue. These approaches emphasize on the critical features used by public policy makers with regards to this issue. These approaches also outline the salient aspects of public participation. What will be incorporated into the approaches is public participation and also the elitist perspective when it comes to policy implementation.
The street renaming issue has become a very controversial issue because of its apparent political basis or involvement of political power. This has been viewed as not being influenced by the notions of democracy which stresses upon fairness. What seems rather sketchy is the policy conceptualization and design aspect of policy thus affecting implementation. In the South African context, implementation research scholars tend to focus on two effective methods that describe the implementation process; top down and bottom up approaches. Top-down supporters see policy designers as the central actors and concentrate their attention on factors that can be manipulated at the national level. Bottom-up supporters emphasis target groups and service deliverers.
Top down approach
This approach tend to focus on the implementation effects of central government controlled variables to the exclusion of, or at least a major reduction in emphasis on, other factors. Top down approach centralizes decision making with the hierarchical structures which supposes that the policy implementation process continues quickly and efficiently when there is limited involvement of organisations and that the administrative structures are well integrated from above rather than being dispersed and fragmented into numerous offices and agencies.
Cited in Bardach (1977) argues that the degree of hierarchical integration is a crucial determinant of implementation success (Kessey, 2004; 51). In the South African context, the dominance of the ANC and its alliance partners has demonstrated political influence over the execution of policies which has reduced the administration and agencies tasked to implement programmes to be under decisive command and control and act on directives from the above structures. In this regard policy projects such as the naming and renaming of street is much dependent political strategy for their successful accomplishment. Bottom up approaches
This approach has the advantage of focusing on local implementation structures, by developing networking techniques in identifying the local, regional, and national actors involved in the planning, financing, and execution of any policy ( Cited in Sabatier & Mazmanian 1989). In the present study, the idea would be to ensure that external influence is subordinated and that each community,, interest groups, policy network and/or subsystems imputs are applicable to the implementation process in renaming streets. The emphasis on participation of interest groups and/or communities in the decision making process renders the implementation process to be effective as there would be commitment and public support for prosed policy. Thus, considerations to community experiences and realities are a crucial aspect which may render the success or failure of the policy goals and objectives. Backward mapping and Forward mapping
Forward Mapping is the strategy that comes readily in mind when one thinks about how a policy maker might try to affect the implementation process. Its begins at the top of the process with a clear a statement as possible of the policy makers intent and proceeds through the sequences of increasing more clear steps to define of what is expected of implementation at each level. Forward mapping, begins with an objective, it elaborate on increasingly specific set of steps for achieving those objectives and it states an outcome against which success or failures can be measured. Backward mapping begins not at the top of implementation process but at the least possible stage, the point at which administrative action intersect private choice. It begins with a statement of specific behavior at lowest level of the implementation process that generates the need for a policy. Only after that behavior is described does the analysis presumes to state an objective; the objective is set as organizational operation and then as set of effects or outcomes that will result from these operations.
Elite theory seeks to explain power relations in contemporary society. It posits that the society consist of the minority who rule and the majority who are ruled, often the minority consists of members of the economic elite and the majority are the citizens, media and interest groups. These members of the elite are known to have significant influence on policy decisions, planning and implementation. The theory is based on two ideas which is that the power lies in position of authority in key economic and political institutions. According to Mosca (1939) the first class monopolizes power and through that they are able to enjoy the advantages of being elite. The first class is said to perform all political functions through monopolizing power. The second class which is ruled is controlled by the elite and they are to conform to what is imposed upon by the elite.
The psychological difference that sets elites apart is that they have personal resources. There are different techniques used in policy making and their effect in policy making, Geurts. L.A (2001) focuses on the role of public policy analyst and how they use different methods of including the public depending on the policy problem at hand.
Summary of the case study
The South African Geographical Names Council Act 118 of 1998 (hereafter referred to as the Geographical Names Act) provided for the establishment of the Geographical Names Council. This Council was tasked with facilitating the transformation of geographical names of the places in South Africa. Amongst other tasks, the Council was responsible for identifying existing geographical names in need of revision, and advising the Minister of Arts and Culture on the changing, removing, or replacing of geographical names of the public places in the country. In line with the provisions of the Geographical Names Act, the eThekwini Municipality’s Council (hereafter referred to as the municipality) agreed on a process to review and rename streets and public places in the eThekwini Region. The eThekwini Municipality invited comment regarding the renaming of the city’s streets from all members of the public. Advertisements ran on the 09 March 2007, in major local newspapers calling on the public to forward proposals for the renaming of roads, streets, freeways, municipal buildings, community halls, parks and other public places within the municipal region.
The public were also encouraged to fax, post and hand deliver proposals or comment to designated centers for review. Closing date for submission of comments and/or proposals was 30 March 2007. Co-ordinated by the eThekwini Municipality’s Corporate Geographical information System, the municipality received in excess of 12 000 comments and/or objections on the proposed renaming of streets and buildings in eThekwini region. These objections included objections from the Inkatha Freedom Party as well as the Democratic Alliance. According to the city manager, Mr Mike Sutcliffe, over 95% of the objections received were objections against the principle of street re-naming (Ezasegagasini, 2007). According to the guidelines stipulated in the street renaming charter, it emphases the importance of consulting the affected parties (communities, business and civil societies) with regard to new proposed names prior to implementation.
It further emphases the importance of taking into consideration the context sensitiveness of the names against the history and the cultural values of the area. The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the Committee on the background and purpose of the South African Geographical Names Council regarding geographical names. The challenges related to standardisation and transformation of geographical names were outlined, notably perceptions that the heritage of certain culture groups was being destroyed or that renaming was a reverse from discrimination ,disputes and argument that money spent on renaming might better be spent on building houses and creating employment opportunities . It was noted that the Council was expected to facilitate and conduct nationwide public hearings to encourage national dialogue on issues of geographical names. It would be necessary to use languages that were understood by communities concerned. It would be necessary throughout the process to reclaim previously marginalised cultural identities but at the same time dispel the notion that certain cultures were being deliberately ignored.
This case study examines the process of public participation in public policy implementation decision-making using the process of the name changing of St. Lucia Wetland Park to Isimangaliso Wetland Park .The St. Lucia Wetland Park, now called Isimangaliso Wetland Park, is one of the parks that went under extensive renaming in the city. In the 1990s the area was explored as a possible site for dune mining by Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) which led to an outcry by environmental groups and the eventual decision by the government to declare the area a World Heritage site. In the wrangling over the future of the area, the public and the local communities that resided there feel that they were barely consulted in any meaningful way. In the recent process of changing the name of St. Lucia to Isimangaliso it is claimed in reports” that it was a smooth process. The national government further claims that this was as a result of two years of extensive consultation with concerned communities in this area.
St Lucia Wetland Park is an area of both national and international importance. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 after a protracted period of contestation between environmentalists and RBM in which the site was considered as a possible area for dune mining. In this period of contestation there was a severe lack of public consultation in the decision-making process about the future plans for the area. This study – of the name changing of St. Lucia Wetland Park to Isimangaliso Wetland Park is based on the same geographical area in which the public were not substantively consulted ( Xaba 2009 ). African government to create a better life for all simply means to put people first by accounting to people for their vote and the faith that they have vested in you, as a representative.
But in reality, there are many cases in the South African context where the level of accountability of public servants and representatives may be questioned. The question is, to whom are our democratically elected representatives really accountable? Are they accountable to their political parties, or to the communities that they purport to serve? In public policy implementation, accountability is a vital concern. Accountability is directly linked to participation. Without accountability it is not possible to claim that there was any degree of participation in implementation decision-making. The process of naming and re-naming in South Africa is aimed at honouring, acknowledging and recognizing cultural diversity and the heritage of this country in its totality. It is a necessary means of transformation not only for South Africa. International legislation recognizes the need to emancipate the terrain of heritage from many forms of colonial bondage.
The process of naming and re-naming in many parts of the world is framed in terms of United Nations Resolution of the first United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. The former Minister for Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa from 29 April to 10 May 2009, Dr. Pallo Jordan stated that, re-naming places derived from the South African Constitution which recognizes and affirms the heritage, culture and languages of all South Africans. He further stated that the transformation of our heritage sector is integral to the healing, transformation and nation-building process. By working at this process consistently and with perseverance we will create a South Africa at peace with itself, at peace with its neighbours and capable of contributing to a better future in a better world. Indeed, ‘the process of re-naming… forms an integral part of the African renaissance project’.
The Department of Art and Culture highlights that the process formed one of the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that the standardization of geographical names be used as an aspect of healing and reconciliation, and as a form of symbolic reparations to address South Africa’s unjust past. According to the government, the democratic South African inherited a slew of place names that reflected white history and European culture.
Even as a government of all South Africans took initiative and even as an inclusive Constitution was adopted, the street signs of South Africa sent a very different message. The message was that while South Africa may belong to all who live in it, most of its people did not deserve to have their culture, history, language or heritage reflected in their everyday surroundings. The desire to change the names of these places is therefore understandable more than that, it is necessary to ensure that the languages , culture , history and heritage of all South Africans is reflected in the names that are given to the world they inhabit.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
This study is qualitative simply because it aims at studying the human action from the insider’s perspective in a social science sphere. This research is designed to investigate the extent of public participation on street naming at Durban KZN and the impact of public participation on street renaming policy implementation process. Essentially this research also takes an applied research approach because it is research already in the academic domain, hence theories employed in it are theories already advanced by other academics. That is to say, in carrying out this research concepts describing public participation and policy implementation will be employed as advanced by scholars in their respective studies. However such concepts will be tested in the context of policy formulation and implementation. On the other hand this research is also exploratory because it aims at investigating the possibilities and feasibility of the research by testing out whether the degree of public participation in policy formulation will affect implementation of the policy.
The theoretical population as perceived encompasses the relevant participants, role players, affected parties and target groups with both direct and indirect interests on EThekwini Street Renaming. This population will be accessed through employing both qualitative and quantitative research paradigms. The qualitative method of data collection is none numerical as compared to its counterpart. In keeping with the qualitative method, semi-structured interviews would be a key technique/ research instrument in collecting data for this particular research. Interviews and surveys as envisaged will enable the targeted individuals or public to voice out their opinions and stance regarding street renaming. The reason for employing interviewing technique specifically for this research is because this form of data collection is flexible and can be utilized in a variety of ways regardless of the prevailing contexts.
Semi-structured interviews in the context of this study will allow the researcher to gather in-depth information through follow up questions where necessary. Non-Probability sampling procedure will be accordingly employed in carrying this research. The reason for employing this method in this research is because this study takes a purposive sampling approach.
In other words interviews would be administered on targeted individuals namely; Member of the eThekwini Municipality, Member of the opposition parties (DA/ IFP), Ward Counsellor and Member of the affected target group (i.e. member of the eThekwini Municipality). Participants shall be presented an informed consent form stating and indicating explicitly that participation in this research is voluntary. They will also be ascertained that their personal information and identity will be confidential if they wish so, thus if during the process of data collection (interviewing) feel that they want to withdraw from partaking in the research, they shall freely do so with no adverse consequences. Children will not under any circumstance be part of this study.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
1. This study worked with small sample sizes therefore cannot generalise. For example two oppositional party members were interviewed therefore we cannot generalise for all members of the parties. 2. Group work overall posed limitations. Group members had other commitments such as work (those who are employed) and found it difficult to make it to group meetings on time if at all. This set the whole group back especially when no efforts to even send their work with someone else were made. In all the group meetings there was never 100% attendance.
3. The interviewees also added to the challenges. Some kept postponing the interviews and never pitched for them. 4. Familiarity was another limitation, but it was dealt with by not taking things for granted. For example all group members were aware of the street re-naming that took place in Ethekwini Municipality. However we had to conduct the research without pre-conceived ideas. 5. Also researcher bias was controlled by engaging in reflexive conscious processes to particularly minimise the influences of bias. Reflections:
So what is in a street name, and why has the naming and renaming process generated such a heated response in South Africa? An article by Mia Swart, published in the German Law Journal argues that names hold great symbolic value in the process of memorialisation and that the process of renaming can be a powerful expression of political change. Swart suggests that changing street names can serve: as a vehicle for memorialisation or commemoration; as a form of symbolic reparation for human rights abuse; to construct a politicized version of history; and as a mechanism for transitional justice, restoring dignity and public recognition to victims.
Swart, acknowledging Jordan, notes that “Plaques and names constitute a form of collective memory refracted through political and bureaucratic processes,” allowing “an official version of history to be incorporated into sphere of social life which seems to be completely detached from political contexts or communal obligations”. The challenge is to counter the reminders of past injustices that mark our urban landscape; resolve the tension between preservation and restitution; counter discriminatory and hurtful narratives and deal with the complex nuances of our multi-layered history. We need to ask ourselves, what is at stake when the names of our streets, public places and buildings reflect a narrow spectrum of history? What is lost, or gained when a particular version of history is privileged and another excluded? What lies at the heart of the controversies around street naming is the question about how to deal with a difficult past. What is certain is this debate is far from over.
Interview with the member of EThekwini municipality
* Aims and objectives
According to the councillor changing of names was a process which was long overdue and was necessary. There was a need to review the existing names so as to have names that South Africa can identify with. Names which were taken into consideration are names which depict the history of South Africa and roles which these individuals played. She further stated that street names which existed before did not have a meaning and were not a true reflection of South Africa after democracy. Current names thus aimed at informing the public about people who fought for freedom, heroes and heroines who deserve recognition and appreciation. * Criterion used to identify street names
Names which were selected had to be names of people who are no longer alive. Ethical background was one of the criterions used when names were selected, the conduct of the individual had to fit being called a hero or heroine. Past contribution to South Africa was also looked at hence people were given the opportunity and platform to suggest the names of people who fit the criteria.
* Attitude and reaction of stakeholders
Amongst the stakeholders was a committee appointed to deal with issues surrounding street renaming, the South African civil organization were said to be part of the decision making. eThekwini municipality’s council were amongst the decision makers. Meetings were held where school governing bodies, Non-Governmental organizations, tripartite alliance and the youth were invited to discuss the matter. The councillor also stated that street renaming was not the only issue that they had to focus on but also other places which needed to be renamed like the airport and schools.
Public influence on street renaming.
The public was excited about the proposal of street renaming because it will reveal the history of this country, culturally, historically, and the experiences this country encountered during apartheid era. The communities were told to submit names of those who played a major role in our country’s liberation, who are fit to be named Heroes and motivate why they chose that particular individual.
* Reaction of stakeholders on street renaming.
The tripartite Alliance, ANC liberation, community representatives in Ward committees, Sanco, Business people, Church organisations, School governing bodies, CPF, and Opposition parties were all involved when the process was proposed at National Level and made a collective decision. * Democracy and the notion of street renaming.
The relevant stakeholders were involved in the process, and they were approached to submit names even the opposition parties were also involved. The interesting idea was to involve community and make them to own the process, the ward committee’s representatives were mobilising community members to decide on the names and come up with the name that they think represent their community and motivate.
* The public and understanding the objectives of street renaming. The communities understood the objectives because some of the inputs were “there was no difference between the way the street were named to the streets of Britain, so South African street names was duplication of the street in Britain. However this was about to change and when the tourists visit this country they will be introduced to South African history and culture by Street names, Buildings, Airports and other assets owned by government.
* Was it too soon to pursue street renaming considering other socio-economic challenges faced by the municipality. “No! Because poverty is a huge project which will take some years to overcome, “in other words poverty will always be the part of our lives”. If the government wants to achieve something they must not postpone because of other issues which have a separate budget allocation. This project belongs to the Department of Arts and Culture which has its own budget allocation and Social Development has another for society Welfare, and the Department of Housing has other project for RDP housing. It is so inappropriate to say it was too soon to pursue street renaming as government has a budget to conduct the process. Interview with the member of the opposition party (DA & IFP) Both the DA and the Inkatha Freedom Party have accused the council, which has an African National Congress majority, of not keeping to the renaming process agreed by all parties.
“It is our contention that they [the eThekwini municipality] should have proceeded under the provisions of the National Geographical Names Council Act. “In any event, it is also our contention that under the Constitution, they have no right to rename streets without the process going through the National Geographical Names Council”. The DA takes the following approach: We believe that the names of places and streets in towns and cities should reflect all its residents’ histories and heroes. As Mandela said, names and symbols should not be the terrain of “petty revenge” or defensiveness. We must acknowledge our discriminatory and unjust past, and genuinely seek to develop inclusive cities, where all feel welcome. All parties acknowledge the need for place and street names to be inclusive and celebrate the history and heroes of all communities. The names of streets and places should aim to reconcile and unite, rather than divide.
This requires compromises all round. Former SA Presidents or Prime Ministers are entitled to retain one street (but not necessarily more) that is named after them in a town. Streets and places should not be named after living politicians (with the exception of Nelson Mandela who symbolised the drive towards reconciliation). First seek to “name” before “re-naming”. There are a surprising number of places and streets that do not have names. It is easier and more desirable to change names that do not stir intense emotions. It is easier to name or re-name major highways and thoroughfares than it is to rename smaller streets on which homes and business base their addresses. Seek consensus on names that are deemed offensive (e.g. “Stinkwater” or “Native Yard”), and agree to change those as a matter of urgency. Ensure a participative process that includes that all political, cultural and other major traditions. Name changes can occur sequentially, over time.
They can be a process, celebrated one by one, rather than a “big bang” event. Amongst objections to rename streets, the most controversial ones were Mangosuthu Highway, which was to be renamed after Griffith Mxenge and Point Road, which is Mahatma Gandhi. The renaming of Mangosuthu in particular sparked a lot of objections, which resulted in a protest, which took place on May 1st in Umlazi to Durban city center. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) were protesting the renaming process because their opinion is that Dr Buthelezi had played a vital role in the struggle of South Africa and that renaming the street was an effort by the ANC to undermine Buthelezi’s contributions. IFP believes Dr Buthelezi deserves to be acknowledged for his role during the apartheid era and therefore so there is no reason to rename Mangosuthu Highway.
The other problem is that from the conception of this process, the public opinion was not regarded however the ANC was firm that this change would reflect true democracy. According to the IFP chairperson of eThekwini Region, the IFP welcomes the renaming of the street, however the participation was not transparent as there were no discussions during the council about renaming of the streets of eThekwini. The municipal manager and the mayor gave them the proposal without discussions in the full council. The IFP recognizes that the renaming of the streets is symbolic to the democracy and reconciliation of the country from the apartheid depression and social oppression. However, the IFP maintains the ruling political party the ANC has once again abused their political power to take taxpayers money for an expensive process in order to reinforce their political agenda. There has been an unfair mentality and arrogance with the manner in which the whole street renaming process was conducted.
They knew the process was faulty as there was minimal level of participation as there were no council discussions, and the public was limited with time during consultation process of proposing names but yet it did not stop them from implementing it. The IFP conquer that the process was a waste of time, energy and money. The IFP maintains much as they are not opposing the street renaming but with all its social ills such as recorded high HIV prevalence and the continued deterioration of road infrastructure, so many resources should be used to prioritize people’s needs. People need quality houses over their heads, food and jobs. Changing the names of streets does not address social inequalities and people’s needs; it is just a matter of reconciliation. They continue that it create public confusion about the eThekwini’s priories on service delivery. Interview with a ward councillor
According to the ruling party’s councillor changing of names was a process which was long overdue and was necessary. There was a need to review the existing names so as to have names that South Africa can identify with. Names which were taken into consideration are names which depict the history of South Africa and roles which these individuals played. She further stated that street names which existed before did not have a meaning and were not a true reflection of South Africa after democracy. Current names thus aimed at informing the public about people who fought for freedom, heroes and heroines who deserve recognition and appreciation.
Criterion used to identify street names
Names which were selected had to be names of people who are no longer alive. Ethical background was one of the criterions used when names were selected, the conduct of the individual had to fit being called a hero or heroine. Past contribution to South Africa was also looked at hence people were given the opportunity and platform to suggest the names of people who fit the criteria.
Attitude and reaction of stakeholders
Amongst the stakeholders was a committee appointed to deal with issues surrounding street renaming, the South African civil organization were said to be part of the decision making. eThekwini municipality’s council were amongst the decision makers. Meetings were held where school governing bodies, Non-Governmental organizations, tripartite alliance and the youth were invited to discuss the matter. The councillor also stated that street renaming was not the only issue that they had to focus on but also other places which needed to be renamed like the airport and schools. Interview with a member of affected target group (Durban Chamber of Commerce)
Views from the CEO of the Durban chambers of commerce
Naming is a means of educating, of identifying with a place or people, and a reminder of times gone by. The meanings and associations of publicly displayed names form an integral part of our cultural life. There are those who argue that they must remain, as they are part of the legacy and the heritage of Durban. And there are those that argue, yes, precisely, they are the legacy and heritage of colonial Durban, and as we are no longer a colony, they must go. In the case of the name changing process the CEO looked at the following issues: Process of street naming by the ETHEKWINI Municipality
According to the CEO the process of the street renaming process was handled badly because there was lack of consultation between all the relevant stakeholders. He was of the view that street naming should not be taken as a mere ad hoc exercise .He also highlighted that whilst the city is home to a diverse population it is not necessarily an integrated one. For instances sum people hold different views about different areas within the city. A typical example here would be that of Albert Park and the Point area as mostly a ‘black’ area, Grey Street as ‘Indian’, the Esplanade as ‘wealthy’ and various specific areas as being populated by ‘foreigners’. It would appear that social divisions along class, ‘race’ and nationality still mediate people’s interactions in this complex city space. He noted that in one sense a picture of living next to but not with each other is painted.
The CEO noted that public participation is very important in policy implementation. He holds the view that there was limited public participation during the process reason being that there was no method put in place to address issues of cultural differences and political recognition. In a sense that the public would only be happy with names of political figures they can associate themselves with. He also highlighted that the street name changes also affected business because they had to change their addresses and adapt to the whole process which was very costly.
The Chamber’s stance on street renaming policy was endorsing the policy but with caution on the process and policy implementation. It was in the perception of the Chamber that the process of street renaming was badly handled with less regard on public opinion. The chamber is of the view that the street renaming policy was a policy with substantial opposition because the changes were particularly provocative and unfavourable to a large EThekwini community. Public participation in the process was rather controlled and executed as merely formality than fulfilling genuine public participation.
The Chamber strongly advocated that the process of street renaming should have been properly monitored to ensure that names forwarded are ultimately the names the Council deliberated on not names preconceived prior consultation with the public. Supporters of the ruling party played a significant role in the choosing of names as highlighted by the case of renaming a street at Emanzimtoti after a bomber that killed civilians in his fight against the undemocratic Apartheid government. Practically the public played a minute role in the process since the street renaming policy was a policy not everybody could accept. The chamber was of the view that the concept of street renaming was rather premature given imperative socio-economic issues that the municipality has to address. Overall the Chamber endorsed the transformation despite the objection that it came too early without giving sufficient attention on other crucial issues in the municipality.
Analysis of Results
Ideally as espoused by the street renaming policy, street renaming process and implementation should be centred around public participation. This is because the process was envisaged to bring about transformation in accordance with the democratic principles. The objective of the street renaming policy was to prevent the inconsistency, inadequacy and confusion by providing a street numbering system that is simple to manage, logical to users and uniform to all properties within the municipality (and where practical, confronting to the practices in the wider community). From the results presented above, it surfaces that the street renaming process and implementation took a forward mapping approach. This is because the process of street renaming was initiated by the municipality, and the names that were ultimately chosen were deliberated upon by the Council that was vested with the power to choose names. Inherently, it is arguably that the names might have been preconceived, and the process of participation was mere formality.
For instance, in the case Simphiwe Zuma Street in Glenmore, the community manifested discontent and disapproval of the name by spraying across the name because they do not recognise the person. This then goes against the participation principle which states that the project beneficiaries should be incorporated in a decision making process prior implementation because this inevitably the project will either directly or indirectly affect. Essentially affording them an opportunity to participate will allow them to embrace or object the project from its initial phase. The substantial uproar from the community about the names chosen depicts that this fundamental principle was undermined by the policy implementers in the street renaming project. The general view from all the interviewees is that they embrace the concept of street renaming but they strongly objected to the manner in which the policy was implemented.
They strongly argue that the process was substantially flawed and politically influenced by the ruling party. This is corroborated by the renaming of the street in EManzimtoti after the bomber and freedom fighter Andrew Zondo who in his fight for freedom planted a bomb at the area which killed white civilians. It is evident from this particular instance that the community living in this area would not have opted for this name under circumstances therefore it is reasonably to infer that this name was imposed. The other affected groups were of the view that public participation is very important in policy implementation. They hold the view that there was limited public participation during the process reason being that there was no method put in place to address issues of cultural differences and political recognition. In a sense that the public would only embrace names of political figures they can associate themselves with.
They also highlighted that the street name changes also affected business because they had to change their addresses and adapt to the whole process which was very costly. It also surfaced as an argument from the municipality that the previously existing names were not representative of the current democratic SA and had no meaning to the large SA public. But the new names like Simphiwe Zuma imposed on the white populated community of Glenmore did not have any meaning to them because they could not associate themselves with him. This then is contradictory to the objectives the policy seeks to achieve most importantly it highlights flawed public participation.
Some of the stakeholders feel that the process was falt accompl, since decision was conceivably already been made about which street names to be changed by the council prior to public participation. Major opposition parties, Democratic Alliance and Inkatha freedom party raise the issue of lack of consultation and stakeholder involvement in decision making process of the eThekwini street renaming. As Shabalala (2010:4) emphases, policy context should be understood within it social, political, economic and cultural history of the community, it seek to influence. The aim is to ensure strategic intervention is predicted based on evidence of surrounding factors and what it can induce.
Overall, the street renaming policy implementation was a policy not everybody could accept. However there were dissenting opinions on whether street renaming was premature or not looking at other socio-economic challenges that needs attention. Some argued that poverty is not the only issue in the government agenda therefore not all resources will be directed to it. Some argued that the money used in the street renaming implementation should have been utilised to build houses and upgrade infrastructure in the municipality.
The implementation of the street renaming process was flawed with a limited public participation. This is due to a limited time frame, lack of effective ward committees, poor oversight on choosing names and potential political influence. Objectively poor public participation was precipitated by political intolerance as a result the opposition parties even took the matter of street renaming to the courts resolution. Renaming of streets in the municipality was accepted as a good concept, the objection was levelled against the principle employed in the process of choosing names. It appeared that there was a huge political influence on choosing names hence the names chosen reflected the cadres of the ruling party. It can be inferred then that most names were preconceived and the process of public participation was a mere formality.
Evidently, the street renaming policy of EThekwini Municipality was a policy that came from the top and imposed to the public hence there was such huge discontent on other names chosen for certain communities. From the arguments above, it appears that the “majority rules” principle was employed over the sincere concerns of the affected stakeholders in the street renaming policy. It can be concluded then that the entire street renaming process and implementation was driven by political power. The issue of contestation has not been about the proposed names but it about constitutional principles, where lack of transparency and involvement of communities as affected parties in the process of choosing names has been neglected. Since transparency and public participation is regarded as corner stone of democracy, South African municipal system act 2000 stipulates that communities have rights to full participation in any decision that directly or indirectly affect their living condition.
For policies envisaged to uplift the public, the public should take the centre stage and its views and opinion should be taken into consideration during decision making to guard against policy resistance and isolation by the public. Participation should be employed as a genuine process rather than fulfilling an obligation on the part of the municipality. Backward mapping is the most appropriate approach in achieving the aforementioned.
— I’m not sure with dis part
BARNES, M. (1999) ‘Users as citizens: collective action and the local governance of welfare’, Social Policy and Administration, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 73-90. BARYA, J. (2000) Trade Unions and the Struggle for Associational Space in Uganda: The 1993 Trade Union Law, Kampala: Department of Public and Comparative Law, Makere University. COHEN, J. (1998) ‘Democracy and liberty’, in Deliberative Democracy, ed. J. ELSTER, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. FRASER, N. (1992) ‘Rethinking the public sphere: a contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy’, in Habermas and the Public Sphere, ed. C. CALHOUN, Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Hemson, D. (2007), in Buccus, I. and Hicks, J. Ed, Can participation make a difference? Prospects for people’s participation in planning. Critical dialogue 3 (1), 9–15. 1. City Manager’s Newsletter, Ezasegagasini (2007) The Renaming of Streets and Public Places in the eThekwini Municipality: University of KwaZulu Natal. 2. Http: protocolinpractice.blogspot.com/2007/04/Durban-street-renaming-city-manager
Unpublished research (dissertations/ theses):
Kessey, C. B (2004) Participatory Implementation: The Gender Dimension in the Implementation of Community-Level Projects in Ghana. University of Helsinki, Finland. Brynard, P. A (2005) Policy Implementation: Lessons for Service Delivery. School of Public Management and Administration, University of Pretoria, South Africa
The interview is between the interviewer and Municipal Manager of EThekwini Municipality. Let fix the sequence of the questions 1. What were the goals and objectives of street Re-naming in EThekwini Municipality? 2. What criterion was used to identify the streets to be renamed? 3. How was the attitude and reaction of the stakeholders towards the decision of street re-naming? 4. What criterion was utilised to identify stake holders for participating in the decision making? 5. What influence did the public exert on street renaming? 6. What was the reaction of all stake holders on street renaming policy? 7. To what extent has democracy influenced the notion of street renaming? 8. Do you think the public understood the objectives of renaming the streets and why? 9. Don’t you think it was way too soon to pursue street renaming policy considering other challenges like poverty faced by the municipality? Why?
The interview is between the interviewer and ward committee of (ward number) EThekwini Municipality. Let fix the sequence of the questions 1. What do you understand about street renaming?
2. In your opinion how should have street renaming process been monitored and implemented to allow sufficient public participation? 3. How were you informed about street renaming and public places in the EThekwini Municipality? 4. Do you think the role, function and duty of the EThekwini Municipality in realizing community participation was appropriately employed in the street renaming policy? 5. A large part of transformation is symbolic. Does the current name change reflect that need? 6. Were there any conflicting interests between stakeholders during policy formulation? 7. Do you think the street renaming process was transparent? Why? 8. In your opinion was the general public’s opinion about street renaming taking into consideration prior policy implementation, during and after? Give reasons for your answer. 9. Did you partake in the street renaming process?
10. In your view did the public play a significant influential role in the street renaming process? Why? 11. To what extent was the historical background and interests of the participants given priority?
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