The mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Nqaba Bhanga, has criticised the Ministry of Arts and Culture over the renaming of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape.
Addressing the media from Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) on Thursday Bhanga said that the processes were “fatally flawed and devoid of inclusivity”.
He said that it was imperative that the processes followed in name changes be inclusive and reflect the constitutional commitment to reconciliation.
Bhanga said he was not personally opposed to the name changes but was only heeding a call made by the residents.
He said that he would be submitting an official complaint to the Minister and the metro plans to establish a multi-sectoral committee to appeal the name changes.
“I want to make it clear from the outset that I am not opposed to name changes, but for any name change to make sense I believe it should adhere to certain requirements,” said Bhanga.
“The name should be correctly used in the context of the language it proposes to be written in.”
He said the gazetted name changes did not meet the following requirements:
- It must unify the people affected by it.
- It should be a name that is easily remembered and recognisable.
- There should be a significant historical link with the city or town affected.
- The name should promote economic activity.
The law states that after name changes are published, any person or body dissatisfied with a geographical name approved by the Minister may, within 30 days of the date of publication, lodge a complaint in writing to the Minister.