Attention: News Editors / Journalists / Press Members
Date: 25 February 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) MEC, Fezeka Nkomonye has welcomed the gazetting of the geographical name changes by Minister Nathi Mthethwa. The gazette contains a number of place names in the province with some being totally new names while others are corrections and changes to existing names.
The gazetting of the name changes follows a long process of public consultation by the Eastern Cape Geographic Names Committee (ECPGNC) that started as far back as 2018. The proposed names were tabled, and public comments were invited, the committee used mainstream media including the SABC, the Herald, the Daily Dispatch, Isolezwe and BayTV to invite people to participate in the public hearings. In Port Elizabeth alone more than five public hearings were held in different venues across the city as an example of how comprehensive the consultation process was.
All the proposed names originated from the affected communities through open, transparent and participatory public consultation process. Communities are the ones that come up with the names not the committee or the department. The names can be based on a historical event, the role played by an individual or any other historical reason that the community sees fit. Communities and individuals were given an opportunity to comment or object to the name changes, the objections that were received were responded to at length.
In welcoming the name changes MEC Fezeka Nkomonye said “Our department has a constitutional mandate to drive social cohesion and nation building, as well as contribute to the transformation agenda of the country. The building of a united nation requires a deliberate programme to redress and transform the divisive legacy of our past, apartheid symbols, names and other artefacts continue to represent the exclusion and discrimination of the past.
This is not just about the names, but it speaks to our identity as a nation, we have a task to construct a common identity that affirms the culture, language and symbols of the indigenous people of this country. We must never shy away from correcting the injustices of the past, the affirmation and inclusion of the previously marginalised. The name changes are about restoring the dignity and making visible all those who made invisible by apartheid-colonialism”
As a department we are working hard in ensuring that our diverse national identities are celebrated through our national symbols, arts, culture and heritage. Through our work in the protection and promotion of the heritage resources we seek to ensure that our children grow up to be proud of who they are. Through our libraries, our support to authors and publishers our children will learn the history of our country. Through our support to the visual and performing arts we ensure that our story as a people comes alive in theatre stages, canvas, sculpture and film.
I must also put it on record that no money that is meant for other service delivery will be used for these name changes. The department will use and has been using money allocated to this programme. We can never put a price tag on the importance of preserving and protecting the dignity of our people who, for so many years have been segregated and side lined by the apartheid government.”
The Committee will now convene a stakeholder meeting that includes the department of Transport, SANRAL, Traditional leaders, Municipalities and the Post Office among others to communicate the changes so that these institutions can effect them.
For media queries, contact:
Spokesperson to the MEC
Ms Busisiwe Jemsana-Mantashe
Cell: 071 688 4204
Mr Andile Nduna
Cell: 071 411 4820Email: Andile.Nduna@ecsrac.gov.za