Port Elizabeth

Gqeberha will become even more accessible from July. Photo: Pixabay

Gqeberha renaming to be challenged by Nelson Mandela Bay municipality

The NMB municipality don’t object to renaming of cities and metros, but say that the shift from Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha did not follow due process.

Port Elizabeth

Gqeberha will become even more accessible from July. Photo: Pixabay

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is set to object to the proposed name change from Port Elizabeth (PE) to Gqeberha in a letter to Sports Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, after Mayor Nqaba Bhanga announced that the idea of changing the names will not be opposed, but rather the proposed names themselves. 

With nearly 80 000 complaints by residents regarding the proposed switch from PE to Gqeberha and Uitenhage to Kariega, the municipality has confirmed that it will write to the department and instead propose ‘Nelson Mandela City’ as an alternative to Gqeberha.

Port Elizabeth name change process ‘inadequate’  

Bhanga, who hosted the town hall meeting, said that the process of determining the new names for the Metros had not been conducted in a way that was representative of all residents who would be impacted. 

He said that the ultimately approved names themselves had not been put through a proper process of deliberation, and said that the renaming of the areas themselves is not a contested element of their submission to the department. 

“It became a conversation across the board and as we move forward as a country it should be a conversation for all people of South Aafrica,” Bhanga said.

Less than 400 people attended the public participation meetings on the name changes prior to the announcement that the proposed names would be gazetted in February this year. 

Mayor to write to Mthethwa  

During the meeting on Monday 22 Mrch, Bhanga called for the process to be reopened, with a plethora of alternative names for one of the country’s largest metros spearheaded by the municipality’s frontrunner ‘Nelson Mandela City’. 

In attendance at the meeting was political expert Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana, who said that with such a low turnout during the decision making process, the department and Mthetwa have to consider alternatives. 

“So there is an issue of representation and the reason for this is the geographical name council complied with the most minimal procedures in organising the event.

“The fact that you had such minuscule attendance testifies to the inadequacy of the mobilisation process leading towards the event.”