Fees must fall protestors say De Beer street in the Braamfontein CBD must be renamed after slain civilian Mthokozisi Ntumba.
A petition initiated by Fees Must Fall activists is doing the rounds on social media, calling for the renaming of De Beer street in Braamfontein to Mthokozisi Ntumba street.
The petition is a response to the events on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 which saw innocent bystander, Mthokozisi Ntumba, allegedly shot and killed with rubber bullets at close range by four members of the South African Police Service. The shooting occurred on De Beer street amid Fees Must Fall protests at Wits University. The four officers are currently out on R8000 bail each and are all facing charges of murder, attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.
The Ntumba family would not be drawn for comment on the matter but, a close family friend, Sithembiso Jwara said, “It is a very welcome gesture in remembrance of uMthokozisi and the family is not against it. From what I have observed, it is welcome”.
The initiative to rename the street has gathered support from various members and sectors of society. Supporters range from student activists to artists such as Ntsiki Mazwai and Ayanda Mabulu. However, support alone is not enough, the process of changing street names is not as easy as signing a petition.
According to media liaison specialist for the City of Johannesburg, Zingiswa Mndayi, “Changing street names is more of a political decision that should be taken to Council, the decision will come from the council”. According to Mndayi, the petition itself would not carry much weight in the renaming decision, “unless a member of a political party who forms a coalition from the city brings it forward”.
The city declined to comment on whether they support the petition.
Wits EFFSC campus cell coordinator, Mpho Rankapole, told Wits Vuvuzela, “Students must take the petition seriously so that the street can be renamed Ntumba street. De Beer is a foreign name to us, the name Ntumba should mean the fight for free education”. Rankapole urged students across the country to support and sign the petition.
At the time of writing this article the petition had only 3 signatures on Change.org, a number substantially lower than the expected 100 signatures.
FEATURED IMAGE: Ntumba St handwritten placard placed over the De Beer name. Photo: Provided by Sthembiso Mdlalose
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