“…But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And leaves me poor indeed. “
William Shakespeare. Othello
4TH ATTEMPT TO CHANGE THE NAME OF GRAHAMSTOWN
ECGPNC calls for comments/objections
After three previous unsuccessful attempts since 2007 to change the name of Grahamstown, the Eastern Cape Provincial Geographic Names Committee (ECGPNC) has in its frustration now taken the matter out of the hands of the Makana Municipality and announced late last year that it was conducting its own process in conjunction with the Sarah Baartman District Municipality to change the name of Grahamstown. Attempts to hold a meeting on the issue in Grahamstown only succeeded on the third attempt and the meeting finally took place on 11 February which according to a report in the Grocott’s Mail was attended by “about 84” persons. It was also reported that the meeting decided to recommend that Grahamstown’s name should be changed to Makhanda (which should also be the correct spelling of our Municipality).
The decision was then taken to a meeting of the ECPGNC which decided that the “process” which led to the recommendation (one meeting attended by fewer than 100 persons!) was a proper one and that the recommendation could be adopted by the ECPGNC. That is what led to the publishing of a Notice in the Daily Dispatch and Herald newspapers last week (not in the Grocott’s Mail!) calling for comments/objections on the issue to be made to the ECPGNC by 6 June 2016. If the ECGPNC decides to proceed with the recommendation, which it will almost certainly do, the next step is for it to go to the South African Geographic Names Council (SAGNC) and then to the Minister of Arts & Culture who will take the final step of signing it off for gazetting. Before doing so, however, the Minister is also required to advertise the matter for objections.
In other words, the ECPGNC does not have the final say in the matter and there is some way to go before any change to the name of Grahamstown can be effected. It is also not a foregone conclusion that the change will happen albeit that the ECPGNC and most probably the SAGNC are determined that it should happen.
Matters are, however, at an important stage and the call by the ECPGNC for comments/objections on the issue should not be ignored by those who want to KEEP GRAHAMSTOWN GRAHAMSTOWN.
Since the announcement last year that the ECGPNC and the Sarah Baartman District Municipality were reviving the issue of Grahamstown’s name, KGG has corresponded with them on many occasions pointing out to them that the outcome of the previous three public consultation processes as conducted by the Makana Municipality’s Naming Task Team in conjunction with the ECPGNC were not in favour of the name change and that any new process should take into account those outcomes. We actually took the standpoint that no new process was necessary and would be a waste of public funds and resources in addition to the considerable amount already spent on the issue. We also advised those concerned that the KGG would not be part of any new process as we believed that the matter had already been addressed in the public forum and that it had been amply demonstrated that there was insufficient public support for the name change. We advised them, however, that we would instead monitor their latest process and would make submissions on any recommendation arising out of it.
That point has now been reached and the KGG’s comment/objection is posted separately.
Please read it and note the basis of our comment/objection which summarises everything that has happened since 2007 and our criticisms of the latest “process” which was not a process at all.
The ECGPNC has, however, advised us that it will not receive petitions on the issue and will only accept submissions from individuals. We don’t think they can do so but it means that the KGG’s comment/objection will probably be ignored and it is therefore essential that everyone who wants to KEEP GRAHAMSTOWN GRAHAMSTOWN should submit their comments/objections personally.
You can do so by endorsing and aligning yourself with the KGG’s standpoint as set out in our comment/objection but you must do so in your personal capacity. Of course, you are not obliged to abide by the KGG’s viewpoint and you are free to comment/object in your own right and for your own reasons.
A copy of the Notice is also now posted separately. It contains the contact details of the persons to whom your comment/objection should be sent by 6.6.16. It would be better that you do so by later than 5.6.16 to make sure that you beat the deadline!
Thank you for your continuing interest in this long-running saga and please be assured that the KGG is determined to continue in its efforts to KEEP GRAHAMSTOWN GRAHAMSTOWN not only because we believe that it is what the majority of the broad community of Grahamstown want as already and repeatedly shown but also because we believe that our choice must be respected by bodies such as the ECPGNC, Sarah Baartman District Municipality, the SAGNC and, of course, our own municipality. Above all, processes must not be manipulated to produce a predetermined outcome as is now patently happening.
JOCK McCONNACHIE & SIGIDLA NDUMO
Joint Co-ordinators, KGG.