Hoërskool DF Malan one step closer to changing its name following vote on preferred name change

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DF Malan high school.
DF Malan high school.
Misha Jordaan, Gallo Images

  • Hoërskool DF Malan is one step closer to changing its name. 
  • Following a vote, 72.1% of voters indicated DF Akademie (Academy) as their preferred name for the school.
  • The SGB said the vote indicated that the community wanted to disconnect from the former politician. 

Hoërskool DF Malan is one step closer to changing its name in an attempt to move away from its namesake, a former prime minister of South Africa when the foundations for apartheid were laid. 

According to a statement from the DF Malan governing body, a vote was taken to choose the school's new name.  72.1% of those who voted indicated that DF Akademie (Academy) was their preferred name of choice. 

READ | Hoërskool DF Malan plans name change to be more inclusive

The governing body said 3 466 votes were cast out of 9 496 voters, translating to 36.5% voter turnout.

The statement read:

This turnout is twice as high as the 18% turnout during this year's governing body election, which requires only a 10% quorum to produce a valid result.

"We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who voted and thus contributed to the proud milestone in the history of our beloved school," the statement added. 

"The governing body will now fully analyse and validate the results."

'Awkward process'

After that, the proposed name change would be formally submitted to the Western Cape Education Department for approval. 

The governing body said that the "awkward process of change will now be able to turn into one where togetherness and proud of our school's traditions and achievements can be expanded with a new name - one that inspires us to reach even new heights".

"As a school community, you have made it clear that you are ready to finally identify the school's identity disconnected from the former political figure, DF Malan. As a governing body, is your approval our mandate to complete the process."

News24 previously reported that a group of parents, pupils, and alumni had started a Facebook group - "Trots DF Malan" - to garner support for the existing name.

In an effort to ensure the school was not "hijacked by a full-scale transformation agenda", a series of lawyers' letters had been issued to the school, demanding a referendum be held to vote on if the renaming should go ahead.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the governing body wants to steamroll their process. We want to assure you that a lot of ground and preparation work has been done and is being done. This process has not been completed for a long time, but is only now warming up. The bomb has not yet exploded," a post on the Facebook group said.

The request was denied by the School Governing Body (SGB).

The Western Cape school announced in May that it would start a process to change the school's name to something "more inclusive".

DF Malan, a National Party member, served as prime minister of South Africa from 1948 to 1954. 

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said the school's SGB decided to change the name. 

"We are aware that the SGB of DF Malan HS has been consulting widely on the matter, and the school will need to send a formal application to the department for the change."

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