The names of streets and places should aim to reconcile and unite, rather than divide, and this requires compromise all round, the DA said on Sunday.
"We believe that the names of places and streets in towns and cities should reflect all its residents' histories and heroes," Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille said in a statement.
"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."
Zille said Mandela's gesture of magnanimity carried an inherent risk.
"Some South Africans mean to equate reconciliation with the preservation of the status quo, conveniently exempting themselves from the challenge of reciprocal generosity."
She said this mind-set still exists in some quarters.
"A topical example involves the naming of streets and places in towns and cities across South Africa."
Zille said that as the "street names" controversies escalate in towns and cities across the province, they should be approached as an opportunity to promote reconciliation — not division.
In a statement, Zille made proposals regarding the name changes.
She proposed that streets and places should not be named after living politicians, with the exception of Nelson Mandela, who symbolised the drive towards reconciliation.
Secondly she said first seek to "name" before "renaming".
She added that it would be easier and more desirable to change names that do not stir intense emotions.