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FF Plus rejects renaming of dam

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The devastating droughts of the past few years would have had a much greater impact had visionary leaders not implemented this scheme in the sixties

Vanderkloof Dam. Picture: Patsy Beangstrom

THE FREEDOM Front (FF) Plus has rejected the announcement that the Vanderkloof Dam will be renamed after former president Nelson Mandela as “nothing short of stealing history”.

Inter-Ministerial Committee chairperson, Jeff Radebe, said earlier this week that the dam would be renamed as part of his announcements of plans to celebrate the centenary events of Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

Dr Wynand Boshoff, the provincial leader of the FF Plus, pointed out in a statement issued yesterday that the dam, which is the second largest in South Africa, was first named after the then Minister of Waterworks, PK le Roux. “It was not a vain veneration, but an acknowledgement of Le Roux’s vision and great contribution to making the Orange River Irrigation Scheme a reality.”

Boshoff added that the devastating droughts of the past few years would have had a much greater impact had visionary leaders not implemented this scheme in the sixties.

“The biggest dam in the scheme, and in South Africa, was named after HF Verwoerd at the time because he was the greatest driving force behind the project. The Verwoerd Dam was built by a foreign consortium seeing as South Africa did not have the expertise for such a great undertaking. One of the conditions in the contract was that South Africans had to be trained in the process of building the dam. As a result, the Department of Waterworks was equipped to build the PK le Roux Dam. Various other projects followed.”

Boshoff added that after the 1994 transition, when the two dams were given neutral names, namely the Gariep Dam and Vanderkloof Dam, the FF Plus accepted the change as part of a peaceful settlement. Vanderkloof was named after the original farm on which the dam was constructed.

“It is ludicrous that since 1994, no comparable projects that can be named after former President Nelson Mandela have been undertaken and completed. The FF Plus will actively oppose this renaming.”

– Patsy Beangstrom