Name changes 'will cause conflict'

2010-02-15 14:15

Cape Town - Ill thought out name changes of places with historical value will cause conflict and polarisation across South Africa for the next 20 years, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said in the National Assembly on Monday.

"There is a very big difference between a name such as Pampoenfontein and Pretoria," Mulder said during a debate on President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address.

"Places such as Pretoria, Potchefstroom, Pietersburg, Piet Retief were named after Afrikaner heroes and carry a lot of Afrikaner history and emotion. Why are these names targeted if it is not meant to elicit confrontation?"

Mulder said there was a need for guidelines on how names had to be changed.

"Names which offend should be changed. Names which have great historical value for a specific group can only be changed in consultation with that group. Names cannot be changed after a strict cut-off date," he said.


"The way name changes are being approached we will, for the next 20 years from town to town, be causing conflict between communities. It's bad for relations and causes polarisation between communities."

All kinds of compromises are possible, Mulder said.

Around the world, towns carried double-barrel names of dictators and heroes "because they are part of history".

"You have not converted a man because you have silenced him or tried to wipe out his history," Mulder said.

"The previous government could not change Mr Mandela's view with his incarceration.

"No part of South Africa's population can be bullied into nation building. If they feel accommodated it will be easy and there will be a co-operation."