Take part in process of renaming of William Nicol Drive

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The Star

THE renaming of William Nicol Drive has come under fire from opposition parties.

They say it is illegal because parts of the road belong to the provincial government, which has not been included.

Mayor Geoffrey Makhubo has encouraged residents and all interested and affected stakeholders in the city to take part in the renaming process which started on March 29 and will run until Freedom Day, April 27.

The road connects Bryanston, Fourways and many suburbs beyond to Sandton and Hyde Park, and ultimately Rosebank and the Joburg CBD, via Jan Smuts Avenue.

At the time of construction, the road was named after William Nicol, the administrator of the Transvaal (Gauteng).

“We encourage residents and all affected parties to share their comments or representations on the renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive, after our Struggle icon and mother of the nation.”

“The public’s participation process is now an opportunity for residents to officially voice their views as set out in the city’s approved policy on the naming of streets and other public places, Makhubo said.

The council will consider all comments before a final decision is taken on renaming of road, he said.

However, the DA is opposing the name change.

“The ANC is once again on a pointless push to rename William Nicol and we pointed out that the process was entirely irregular, as it did not follow the city's own policy on renaming, and even illegal, since the city has no jurisdiction over the road,” said councillor Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku.

“At the time the ANC was trying to distract us from the hundreds of millions in corruption on Covid-19 expenditure.”

She said that with the local government elections on the horizon, the ANC had again resurrected the “ridiculous” plan to cover up its numerous failings and, in doing so, had gone against every requirement of the city’s policy on renaming.

Kayser-Echeozonjoku said the DA was opposed to this waste of public money during an economic crisis.

“We encourage all residents to write to the city and oppose this,” she added.

Emails can be sent to dominicam@ joburg.org.za and willyl@joburg.org.za.

Anyone who wishes to comment on the renaming can submit their input, in writing, to the Arts and Culture Heritage Office, 2 Helen Joseph Street, Joburg, Newtown Building.


Bill Hedding of the Heritage Portal gives a history of the road.

It is hard to imagine that just over 60 years ago, no road existed.

SA Townships, the company that developed Bryanston, realised at an early date that the main access to the township, namely via Jan Smuts Avenue and Ferndale would be inadequate to service Bryanston once it became fully developed.

In 1947, representations were made to the Provincial Roads Department to establish a more direct route.

Many snags and difficulties were encountered in choosing the route of what became the Bryanston highway, alias Nicol Drive, and whose real name is P79/1.

The company purchased back certain undeveloped three-acre (1.2 hectare) stands, consolidated them, and relaid them out, making provision for the new road and a new school site as the new road would run through the old one.

An enlargement of the municipal stand upon which the Bryanston Sports Club is now situated with the library, and the redevelopment of the remaining portion into one-acre stands was the result. An associated company, the township owner of Hurlingham, donated a 1¼ acre stand to facilitate the establishment of the road through Hurlingham.

Wth the new road, the existing road system which had been designed with the main entrance to the township through Ferndale had to be re-orientated. The time taken to get to Rosebank was reduced by some 10 minutes for people living in the vicinity of the post office and beyond, while for the people living in the southern portion of Bryanston, there was a much more direct and quicker route to Rosebank.

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