Historical navy home renamed 'without permission'

2015-07-12 21:19

Cape Town -  The seemingly one-sided decision to rename the historic Belmont House in Simon's Town, which belongs the the navy, to Chris Hani House has raised numerous questions and concerns.

Netwerk24 reported on Sunday a battle is brewing at the Simon's Town naval base after the name 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, the report said.

Mhlana currently resides there.

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

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

While the Simon's Town Historical Society is now busy getting legal advise, 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.

The house forms part of the colonial British history in the area and was named after the Battle of Belmont in November 1899 between British and Boer forces at Graspan in the Western Cape.

David Erickson, chairman of the Simon's Town Historical Society, told Netwerk24 he first heard rumours about a name change about three months ago.

“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.

Read the full story here: http://www.netwerk24.com/nuus/2015-07-12-historiese-gebou-skielik-hani-huis

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