Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa receives over 300 letters objecting to the Gazetted Name Change of “Grahamstown” to “Makhanda”

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07 Aug 2018

Minister Nathi Mthethwa wishes to advise members of the press that he has received just over 300 letters objecting to the gazetted name change of “Grahamstown” to “Makhanda”. The town falls under the “Makana Municipality” that is located in the Eastern Cape Province on the south-eastern seaboard of South Africa and in the western part of the Eastern Cape Province falling under the Cacadu District Municipality. It has a population of 67,274 people (2011 Census).

On 29 June 2018 the Minister of Arts and Culture published in the Government Gazette No 41738 the approval of “Grahamstown” to “Makhanda” after receiving recommendation from the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC). To date:

  • 332 complaints have been received. Most, if not all, have made allegations of “lack of consultation”, “cost implications”, “historical sentiments” and the claims that the Government Gazette on the 29 June 2018 was defective because it “did not state the fact that the public have one month to object or complain to the Minister on his 29 June 2018 decision”. 

It has been the Ministry’s stated position, as it is indeed common cause that the Government Gazette, and in this specific matter, any notice that pertains to geographic name changes is not published in isolation but is meant to be read with the “South African Geographical Names Act, 1998” (Act 118 of 1998), “Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000” (Act 3 of 2000) and the Constitution of the Country and the recourse in any administrative decision is clearly provided for by all these authoritative guiding documents.   

  • Section 10 (3) of the South African Geographical Names Act, 1998 provides that “Any person or body dissatisfied with a geographical name approved by the Minister may, within one month from the date of publication of the geographical name in the Gazette, lodge a complaint in writing to the Minister”.  Section 10(4) of the Act further state that “the Minister may refer the complaint to the Council for advice whether or not to reject or amend a geographical name so approved”.

It is the Minister’s considered view that those who have written to him to object to the gazetted name change have displayed the positive traits of an active citizenry.

“It is heartening to know that South Africans understand that ours is a participatory democracy where they can raise objections and their “voices” to be heard. They have now made their voices heard in these letters, and all 332 letters will be read, acknowledged and responded to. Thereafter, in compliance to Section 10 of the stipulated Act, I will refer each objection to the South African Geographic Names Council for advice in order to take an informed decision in finalise this matter.”

– Hon Nathi Mthethwa

For further information and interview requests, please contact: Asanda Magaqa, Spokesperson for the Minister of Arts and Culture- 072 372 6807 (Mobile) ; and asandam@dac.gov.za (Email).