Name change briefing cancelled

2010-01-28 15:09

Pretoria - A media briefing on geographical name changes was cancelled at the last minute on Thursday because of "technical aspects" in the source document, the department of arts and culture said.

"The decision to cancel the briefing was taken after the deputy minister studied the documents presented to him and identified some technical aspects that required further attention before any pronouncements on name-changes could be made," the department said in a statement.

"An announcement will be made as soon as all the technical matters have been dealt with to the satisfaction of minister Lulu Xingwana and deputy minister Paul Mashatile."

The briefing was called in the same week the civil rights initiative AfriForum and the Freedom Front Plus slammed attempts to change the name of Pretoria to Tshwane before the World Cup.

Major protests will be planned

"This organisation also intends to launch major protest actions before, during and after the World Cup soccer tournament if the name were to be changed," chief executive officer Kallie Kriel said on Wednesday.

He said legal action would also be taken.

AfriForum was responding to a report in Beeld, according to which the ANC was in urgent talks with Xingwana to "get rid of" the name Pretoria before the World Cup.

The Freedom Front Plus argued that the planned name change would create division among South Africans.

"If all South Africans want to live alongside each other, they will have to respect each other's cultures, heritage and diversity and will have to help build a new shared heritage," said FF Plus leader in Gauteng Jaco Mulder.

He said the FF Plus and civil organisations such as Solidarity, AfriForum and the Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Associations had for years fought to retain the name of Pretoria.

"The party will shortly be in court again, alongside AfriForum, to rescue Pretoria's street names," he said.