Town name changes 'dishonest'
Johannesburg - A decision by Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana to change the names of places in Mpumalanga was "dishonest and unilateral", the Afrikanerbond said on Monday.
"With this unilateral changing of names, Minister Xingwana rejected the proposed national consensus and debate over the issue of name-changes as proposed by President Jacob Zuma," said Afrikanerbond's Jan Bosman in a statement.
Bosman said that Zuma had promised in his 2009 state of the nation speech an "inclusive" approach to name changes which would help build national identity.
"This national consensus process has not yet commenced and it is therefore dishonest and probably inconsistent with decisions by Cabinet and the direction that President Zuma has announced," said Bosman.
Bosman's comments follow media reports that several places in Mpumalanga had undergone name changes.
Time to make changes
On Monday, African Eye reported that Nelspruit had officially been changed to Mbombela and that 42 other geographical name changes had been published in the government gazette.
According to the report, in addition to Mbombela, the towns of Belfast, Waterval Boven and Machadodorp had been changed to eMakhazeni, Emgwenya and Entokozweni, respectively.
A departmental spokesperson said that signs would not be changed "for a while" and that businesses did not have to change their addresses or sign boards immediately.
"People will have three years to change everything," he said.
Bosman called for Zuma's intervention and said the Afrikanerbond would be writing the president a letter.
"The Afrikanerbond urgently appeals to President Zuma to call this minister to order. The unilateral decision of name-changes for cities and towns, is in line with her bullying tactics," said Bosman.