Don’t botch Potch

One of the signatories to a compromise settlement which would end the legal battles over renaming Potchefstroom Tlokwe has reneged on the agreement just days after it was announced.

In a press release mayor Mapethle Mapethle and activist group Action Potchefstroom said the town would keep its original name, while the town council would be known as Tlokwe. Mapethle has since recanted, saying he did not know why his name was on the statement. He said Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan would make the final decision on the issue.

Council sources told the Mail & Guardian that ANC party tensions on the council had forced Mapethle to backtrack. Lucky Tsagae, the ANC councillor who had originally proposed that Potchefstroom’s name be changed, said he knew nothing about a compromise.

Other councillors contacted by the M&G were too nervous to talk about the name issue, even off the record.

Theo Venter, chairperson of Action Potchefstroom, also attributed Mapethle’s recantation to tensions within the local ANC, but said he thought the issue would be resolved. ”Even though we don’t have a final settlement on paper, the compromise is being seriously considered.”

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Yolandi Groenewald
Yolandi Groenewald
Yolandi Groenewald is a South African environmental reporter, particularly experienced in the investigative field. After 10 years at the Mail & Guardian, she signed on with City Press in 2011. Her investigative environmental features have been recognised with numerous national journalism awards. Her coverage revolves around climate change politics, land reform, polluting mines, and environmental health. The world’s journey to find a deal to address climate change has shaped her career to a great degree. Yolandi attended her first climate change conference in Montreal in 2005. In the last decade, she has been present at seven of the COP’s, including the all-important COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. South Africa’s own addiction to coal in the midst of these talks has featured prominently in her reports.

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