More name changes

2009-10-19 16:07

Mbombela - The name of Mpumalanga's capital city has been changed from Nelspruit to Mbombela.

This follows Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana's publication on Friday in the government gazette of a list of 42 geographical name changes which she had approved between July 28 and September 2 this year.

"Some of the approved name changes in Mpumalanga are Belfast to eMakhazeni, Waterval Boven to Emgwenya, Machadodorp to eNtokozweni, and Nelspruit to Mbombela," said department spokesperson Premi Appalraju on Monday.

She said Xingwana's approval followed the recommendation of the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC).

Missed opportunity

SAGNC councillor and provincial geographical names committee (PGNC) deputy chairperson Mpyane Ratau-Dlamini said the Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism (LCBT), which is opposed to the name change, had missed two consultation meetings.

Previously, the chamber threatened to take legal action against Xingwana should she gazette the name change.

On Monday, the chamber's tourism division chairperson, Sandra Jacobs, said she was still consulting other board members on a way forward now that the name change has been gazetted.

In the minutes of the consultation meeting in February, two chamber officials are recorded as having shown up for the meeting but they left because of "business pressures".

Current names can stay - for now

In the minutes, Ehlanzeni district municipality representative Jackson Siboza said the businessmen obviously "did not think the matter was that important".

He stated in the minutes that 75% of people in 36 wards around Nelspruit had supported the proposed names.

Ratau-Dlamini promised that businesses would not be forced to change their street addresses or remove name boards immediately and that street name signs would remain "for a while".

"People will have three years to change everything," she said.