Eastern Cape name changes are here to stay, says Arts Minister

In a statement, the minister said he would like to ensure the names of places in SA reflect the languages, culture and heritage of the majority of the people of the country instead of reflecting the country’s colonial and Apartheid past.

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa at a media briefing on the coronavirus on 25 March 2020 in Pretoria. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Arts Minister Nathi Mthethwa has rejected all objections to the recent name changes made in the Eastern Cape.

In February, Mthethwa announced several name changes in Nelson Mandela Bay including the renaming of Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha, which he indicated were for transformation purposes.

This saw backlash from the municipality and residents who petitioned against the name changes.

The objections varied from claims that insufficient consultation was done at the local level and that the renaming would drive away tourists.

Spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo said after meeting with the South African Geographical Names Council, the minister has decided that all the objections do not merit a review.

“These name changes included the change of names of Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha, Utenhage to Kariega, King William’s Town to Qonce, East London Airport to King Phalo Airport and Port Elizabeth Airport to Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport. The minister would like to reiterate and ensure that the names of places in South Africa reflect the languages, culture and heritage of the majority of the people of this country instead of reflecting the country’s colonial and Apartheid past.”

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