The ANC’s Free State branch says that municipalities should intensify their programmes of naming and renaming as a way of speeding up service delivery.
In a briefing on its Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting on Thursday (4 March), the group said this process was also important for security reasons, including response by emergency services.
The branch said that communities are directly involved with the naming and renaming of public assets, and these programmes should be used to their fullest.
“The failure to name our areas – in particular, streets – have impacted at times the provision of certain services, such as timeous response by emergency services. This process will continue to buttress the people’s dignity and (security),” it said.
In February, Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthetwa gazetted a number of name changes for towns, cities and airports in the Eastern Cape.
All the changes were made in the Eastern Cape province, the most notable change being that of renaming Port Elizabeth as Gqeberha.
The Port Elizabeth International Airport also had its name changed to the Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport.
Mthetwa said that the transformation of the naming landscape in South Africa is ‘a critical component of the heritage landscape as a whole’, adding that the names of places need to reflect the identity and cultural heritage of the people of South Africa.
The South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) provides for the transformation of South Africa’s naming landscape, with the name changes originating from the province where they take place.
The minister said that South Africans should expect more name changes in the future, depending on the needs of communities who submit proposals to start the process.
“All the gazetted names come from the Eastern Cape, and were submitted to the South African Geographical Names Committee from the Eastern Cape.
“As such, more name changes will be submitted to the SAGNC and the minister in the future, provided that public consultations are conducted by the Provincial Geographical Names Committee before such name changes are submitted to the minister for his consideration,” he said.
Mthetwa said that prior to the changes, the Provincial Geographical Names Committee conducted public consultations on all the names that were changed.
“The South African Geographical Names Act provides for objections within 30 days from members of the public in instances that they are not happy with the gazette name changes,” he said.