There is a new awakening in the North West regarding names for the province and some municipality.
It is a great shame that when all provinces set out and debated changing names way back in the first five years of democratic governance in 1994 – 1999, the North West government was waging war against Kgosi Lucas Mangope and did not bother to give attention to matters of importance.
That Parks board chairperson Mamokoena Gaoretelelwe raised the name change of the province late last year is amazing as she was in the first ANC cabinet that ignored calls for change of this cardinal point name that is North West. When we raised the issue of North West of what the constant refrain was referring to that they are in charge and the name was sanctioned at CODESA.
When the public and concerned members of the community argued from outside the legislature as we were not represented in the legislature that the then Orange Free State was changed to Free State, PWV was changing to a new name, the now Gauteng, Eastern Transvaal was searching for a name for what is now Mpumalanga, later Northern Province changed to Limpopo the ANC stuck to their guns and said there was nothing wrong with the name North West.
That the current Premier Thandi Modise is buying into the rebranding of the province for a name change is gratifying. We hope it will be a transparent exercise in which all people will be given chance to participate. It surely should not be handled like the search for the provincial crest was brought about where there was no consultation.
The exercise will not come cheap but the United Christian Democratic Party will support it if it is done on a transparent manners.
There have been mumblings about the change of names of some municipalities in the eastern Part of the province.
First it was the Mayor of the Moses Kotane Local Municipality, who hardly a month in office felt that the name Moses Kotane was downgraded to be given to a local municipality. She felt that the whole province should be known by that name. Whatever her views are at present, let alone those of the council she heads and those of the people in that council and the province it is anybody’s guess.
A new awakening has just surfaced. The Executive Mayor of Bojanala District Municipality contends that the name has no significance as it states the obvious that the district is the Mecca of tourism in the province. What is wrong in that?
This country cannot afford to have each leader appointed for a five year term prevailing upon provincial assets to change to names that will remain a blight to other citizens long after that individual will have gone.
The cock eyed thinking that a place is worth only if it is named after some struggle character cannot be sustained any longer as it is a very costly exercise.
There are more important matters to attend to with the money eyed to use for these name changes. Access to water in the Bojanala municipality in places such as villages in Moses Kotane and Madibeng municipalities is a cause for concern. Roads are in a complete state of decay while there are so many squatter areas that could be converted to organised residential areas to ensure that whatever money is available has to be used to deliver services to the people.
If members of the public receive services they are promised, the names of their leaders and those of their forebears will be immortalised among those people but using the names of stalwarts of the struggle and not rendering services will result in those affected villages looking down upon the people who brought freedom.
Sent by: Sipho Mfundisi
Cell 083 469 3473