Freedom Front Plus MPL in the Free State, Armand Cloete has accused Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa of driving the agenda to rename Brandfort to Winnie Mandela to cover up the African National Congress (ANC) led government’s service delivery failures.

Cloete says the ANC has deviated from the initial undertaking of 1994 that towns should not be renamed. The party has joined other opposition parties and organisations to oppose a plan by government to change the name.

“The whole process rigs of political populism in the sense that according to the legislation there should be decent public participation and then the authority should listen to what the people needs in Brandfort and in Masilonyana as a Municipality.  We know that this will cost a lot of money to taxpayers, and it will affect the different spheres of government, local provincial and the national government,” says Cloete.

The ANC in the Free State says it stands by the community’s wish to see Brandfort renamed to Winnie Mandela.  Mthethwa, gazetted the name change over a month ago. This is part of preserving the legacy of all freedom fighters. The late struggle stalwart – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – was banished to this town of Brandfort in 1977 and lived there for almost nine years.

“As the ANC we agree with the people of Brandfort who want the name to be changed to Winnie Mandela. We believe that those who are against that are those people who don’t want to see any change and who don’t want to identify themselves with the changing history. So we really support it because it’s an issue that was demanded by the people of that place, that Brandfort be changed to Winnie Mandela.” says Oupa Khoabane, spokesperson for ANC’s Interim Provincial Committee.

VIDEO: Free State DA against renaming of Brandfort to Winnie Mandela