The Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) MEC Fezeka Nkomonye on 8 June 2021 officially inaugurated the Eastern Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee (ECPGNC) council in Bhisho.
“The re-establishment of the ECPGNC council is an attempt by the DSRAC to ensure the continued identification, management, conservation and promoting of heritage resources in the Eastern Cape Province,” Nkomonye said in a media release.
“This is not just about the names, but it speaks to our identity as a nation, we have a task to construct a common identity that affirms the culture, language and symbols of the indigenous people of this country. We must never shy away from correcting the injustices of the past, the affirmation and inclusion of the previously marginalised. The name changes are about restoring the dignity and making visible all those who made invisible by apartheid-colonialism.”
Nkomonye commended the previous Committee for fast-tracking standardisation of place names in the Eastern Cape.
“To date, more than 200 place names have been standardized in the province,” she said. The outgoing Committee led by Councillor Pumla Nazo had succeeded in changing names of strategic and key centres including Grahamstown to Makhanda, King William’s Town to Qonce, Uitenhage to Kariega, Aliwal North to Maletswai, Queenstown to Komani, Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha, Nkomonye said.
“This is not an easy task to achieve as it is an emotive issue that needs cool heads and patience as failure to consult extensively and to comply with applicable legislation and prescripts exposes government to litigation.”
Members of the ECPGNC council are appointed by MEC Nkomonye in terms of Section 2 (2)(a) of the South African Geographical Names Council Act (Act No. 118 of 1998). The Acts stipulate the number of members that should compose a council and the term of office for the council members.
The terms of office of the incoming committee is three years, and the following are the new members:
- Mr Zukile Jodwana (new Chairperson)
- Mr Alderman Samkelo Janda (Mbhashe LM Executive Mayor and former ECPGNC Chairperson)
- Mr Christian Martin (Khoi and San Heritage Activist and former MPL)
- Mr Lukhanyo Sigonyela (Amathole DGNC member)
- Mr Ludwe Ndolose (Academic from Walter Sisulu University)
- Mr Ntandazo Giwu (Alfred Nzo DGNC member)
- Nkosi Buyanda Gwazinamba Matanzima (Member of EC House of Traditional Leaders)
- Ms Ayanda Nkunzi (Member of the BCM Chamber of Business)
- Councillor Mzwandile Vaaiboom (Buffalo City Municipality)
- Councillor Sandile Sello (Alfred Nzo)
- Councillor Unathi Hlathuka (Joe Gqabi)
- Councillor Ondela Kepe (Nelson Mandela Metro)