Feb 19, 2010

Afrikaner: Pretoria's name 'a national issue'

Active ImageThere is still huge controversy surrounding the supposed name change of the South African Capital.




Below is an article published by IOL:

Changing the name of Pretoria is a national issue that needs sober thinking from leaders, and responsible decisions, President Jacob Zuma has told Parliament on Tuesday.

He addressed the burning issue in his reply to the debate on his State of the Nation address, saying the leader of the Freedom Front Plus, Dr Pieter Mulder, had raised the matter of geographic name changes, and specifically the name of Pretoria, in Monday's debate.

"I appreciate his constructive contribution to this problem," said Zuma, adding that he met Mulder last Wednesday and they had a constructive discussion.

"I agree with him that further talks with all the parties involved will have to take place and that a solution and working method which will be acceptable to all parties will have to be found," said the president.

"We must also point out that we had earlier decided, as government, not to rush with the renaming of Pretoria as it is the capital city of our country. "

He said the name change was an emotional issue and no simple matter.

"It is not only emotional today, it was emotional at the time it was named Pretoria.

"We need to move along together on this path to ensure that we all appreciate the significance of the process."

Recently there was outrage, with talk that the ANC wanted to change the city's name ahead of the World Cup, and threatened legal action when the name Tshwane appeared in the Government Gazette.

Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana had placed a notice in the January 29 Government Gazette in connection with the registration of the Tshwane municipal area as a geographic name.

The notice was placed a day after Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile cancelled a media briefing to announce new geographic names for a number of areas in the country.

AfriForum served a lawyer's letter on the Department of Arts and Culture, indicating that it would apply for an urgent court order to set aside Pretoria's name change if the change announced in the gazette was not retracted.

AfriForum's Kallie Kriel said Xingwana complied with his organisation's demand that the changing of Pretoria's name to "Tshwane" be retracted by means of an official notice in the Government Gazette.

The department said it retracted a notice on the issue for "technical reasons" but declined to elaborate.

Last month Mulder said the FF+ had been fighting for years, along with civil organisations such as Solidarity, AfriForum and the Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Associations, to retain the name of Pretoria.

He said the issue needed to be addressed once and for all at the highest level.

Mulder said the proposal that Pretoria be retained as the city and the metropolitan area as the Tshwane Metro Municipality, or as was the case in Washington DC, the option of Pretoria DT (District Tshwane), remained as compromises.