The people of the Eastern Cape will have to come to terms with local government having announced that the Mbizana Local Municipality will from this point on be known as the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Local Municipality. This follows the controversial renaming of Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha, and Uitenhage to Kariega, measures that have drawn strong opposition from residents and opposition parties alike.
More Eastern Cape municipalities undergo renaming
The approved name change was detailed in the latest Government Gazette published on Thursday 4 March, with the decision to proceed with the name-change backdated to 2 December 2020.
The gazette outlines the following change, as directed by Xolile Nqatha, Member of the Executive Council responsible for Local Government in the Province of the Eastern Cape:
“I, Xolile Nqatha, after the consultation process prescribed in section 16 (3) of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act No. 117 of 1998), under the powers vested in me by Sections 16(1)(b) of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act No. 117 of 1998) hereby change the existing name of municipality ( Mbizana Local Municipality) in terms of Paragraph 5 of Part 3 in the Provincial Gazette No. 687 (Extraordinary) dated 2 December 2000 to Winnie Madildzela- Mandela Local Municipality as per attached schedule. The name change. of Mbizana Local Municipality to Winnie Madildzela- Mandela Local Municipality to take effect from the date of publication in the Provincial Gazette.”
Residents have 30 days to voice concerns
Should the name change be received with same degree of animosity as the renaming of Port Elizabeth to Gqebeha was, residents of the Eastern Cape still have a narrow window of opportunity to voice their concerns.
According to Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathan Mtethwa, the South African Geographical Names Act provides for objections within 30 days of the announcement by members of the public in instances that they are not happy with the gazetted name changes.