/ 6 November 2007

Have your say about name changes

The government plans to hold countrywide public hearings early next year on the issue of name changes, Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said on Tuesday.

Addressing a media conference in Cape Town on the work of the government’s social-sector departments, Skweyiya said public hearings on the standardisation of geographical names in South Africa will be held in March 2008.

Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan said the hearings will aim to reach ”some sort of national consent” on the way names should be changed.

”There has been far too much controversy around this issue thus far,” Jordan said.

Name changes have become extremely controversial in some cases, even leading to court action, such as changing Pretoria to Tshwane and, in North West, Potchefstroom to Tlokwe.

Flora and fauna

The City of Johannesburg announced its new naming policy on Monday, according to which the naming and renaming of streets and public places in Johannesburg should be after flora and fauna and not people.

Anyone who wants a place named after a person will have to provide a detailed motivation, including a profile of the person and why he or she is worthy of the honour.

The new policy stipulates that, to avoid unnecessary expenses, renamings will be done only where there is a need, and following public consultation.

A renaming committee will assess all proposals and make recommendations to the council through the mayoral committee.

Recently, Hans Strijdom Drive, a main road running through Randburg and crossing the N1, was renamed Malibongwe Drive. Hendrik Verwoerd Drive in Randburg also has a new name: Bram Fischer Drive, after the anti-apartheid activist.