Battle for ‘Nelspruit’ rages on

2011-08-11 07:10

The battle over the renaming of Mpumalanga capital city, Nelspruit, is not about to end soon since businesses began raising R400 000 to take the matter to the North Gauteng High Court.

The Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism (LCBT) contends that Nelspruit residents were never consulted and that changing Nelspruit’s name to Mbombela would cause unnecessary financial strain on local business – which will have to undergo re-branding.

The National Geographical Names Committee – which falls under the arts and culture department – approved the city’s new name last year.

LCBT spokesperson Linda Grimbeek said the chamber was raising funds from businesses and individuals to fight the matter in court.

“We’re definitely challenging this and expect to raise the amount soon,” said Grimbeek.

The LCBT opposes the name change because it believes:

» Nelspruit is only one suburb of the Mbombela municipality, and renaming Nelspruit to Mbombela will cause unnecessary confusion as Mbombela is already recognised as the name of the municipality;

» Nelspruit is not politically offensive;

» Nelspruit as a brand is worth millions, especially after the marketing campaigns before and during the soccer World Cup;

» It will cost businesses to effect the change. The costs will involve changing company registration records, signage; outdoor, print and electronic media advertising; websites and links on pages hosted elsewhere, business cards, letterheads, stationery and computer programmes; and

» Payroll programmes, Wikipedia and encyclopaedia-type websites, Google maps and Google earth will have to be amended.

Mpumalanga sport, arts and culture department spokesperson Sibongile Nkosi said the department would defend the LCBT’s court challenge.

“On our side we will wait and see if they take the matter to court. We will defend it,” Nkosi said.

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