81% against Pretoria name change

2013-04-14 14:41
Pretoria (<a href=\\\\http://www.shutterstock.com\\\\>Shuttertstock</a>)

Pretoria (Shuttertstock)

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Pretoria - The civil rights organisation AfriForum has been informed confidentially that 81% of the participants in the public participation process of the Tshwane Metro Council regarding the changing of Pretoria's name supported the retention of the name as it is.

Only 19% indicated that the name of Pretoria should be changed to Tshwane. The process took place at the end of last year, after the Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, ordered the Metro Council to follow the public participation process and submit a report on the matter to his office.

According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, the legal team for his organisation has already started the process in terms of the Act on the Promotion to Access of Information (Nr 2 of 2000) to demand that the Council and the Minister make the report on the public participation process available to AfriForum.

"AfriForum wants to ensure that the overwhelming support for the retention of Pretoria's name cannot be swept under the rug when the minister makes his decision on the name change," Kriel added.

Kriel said the overwhelming support for Pretoria's name indicates that efforts to change the name of the city are driven by a small group of political ideologists who promote their own agendas at the cost of public opinion.

According to Kriel the support is especially noteworthy if one takes into account the attempts of Metro Council to manipulate the public participation process in order to inflate the support for the proposed name change.

"Not even tactics such as postponing the public meetings where very few supporters of the name change showed up, and the use of intimidation strategies and biased chairpersons at the meetings, could undermine the overwhelming support for Pretoria's name," Kriel said.

Kriel said that the minister will not be able to ignore the overwhelming support for retaining Pretoria's name and the procedural errors made since 2005 during the process to have the name changed, when he makes his decision.

"The legal team for AfriForum is ready to fight any decision in the courts to have Pretoria's name changed," Kriel concluded.

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