Battle brewing after historical Navy home is renamed 'without permission'

2015-07-12 21:22
Chris Hani House. (Netwerk 24)

Chris Hani House. (Netwerk 24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - A battle is brewing at the Simon's Town naval base after the name of the building Belmont House was sanded off from the sandstone pillars without permission, and renamed after Chris Hani.

Rear Admiral Bravo Mhlana, Flag Officer Fleet, announced a week ago that the name of this historical home in the town's historical mile would be changed.

Mhlana currently resides there.

By Sunday, the home was already sporting the new name “Chris Hani House” in yellow copper letters.

The Belmont name on the sandstone pillars at the entrance to the home as already been sanded off, and the pillars painted white.

The name change is but the last in  a string of changes, including palisade fencing which was erected without permission.

The house is part of the historical mile in Simon's Town, which puts it not only within the provincial heritage and conservation area, but it is also an international heritage building due to its historical link with Britain. 

While the Simon's Town Historical Society is now busy getting legal advice, the SA National Defence Force confirmed that Mhlana did not consult his own generals or admirals in the decision.

“The SA Navy has never taken a decision to change the name of the house. It has never been discussed in any formal structures either," spokesperson Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said.

He did not indicate how the SANDF's top brass would respond to the situation.

Mhlana's spokespeople said the name change was done "unofficially". Mhlana would still decide when to do it "officially" and would then follow the necessary channels.

This historical home is part of the naval base's buildings and has traditionally been used by commanding officers as official residence.

The house forms part of the colonial British history in the area and was named after the Battle of Belmont. This battle in November 1899 between British and Boer forces at Graspan in the Western Cape, was won by the British thanks to a contingent of naval forces and canons.

The home was completed in 1901, and there has never been any attempt previously to have its name changed. 

According to David Erickson, chair of the Simon's Town Historical Society, he first heard rumours about a name change about three months ago.

The society wrote to Mhlana repeatedly, but never received any response.

“It is unacceptable that any changes are made to a building without due consideration for its heritage value. One would expect from the Navy at least, as part of the defence force, to act according to the letter of the law.

“With all due respect to Chris Hani, he had no link whatsoever with the navy. We are thus baffled over how this name was decided upon," Erickson said.

Over the past week the society has met with Heritage Western Cape and other interested parties to discuss the next step.

Assistant-director at the heritage council Jenna Lavin said a permit is needed for any changes made to a historical building. Their inspectors will now investigate.

Read more on:    cape town  |  culture

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.