(Notice of name change defective and legal effect misrepresented)

Keep Grahamstown Grahamstown (KGG) has addressed a formal complaint to the Minister of Arts & Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, about the Notice as published in the Government Gazette on 29.6.18.

KGG has pointed out to the Minister that the Notice is defective in that it contains no reference to Section 10 of the South African Geographic Names Act No.118 of 1998 in terms of which persons who are opposed to the name change have the right to object to the name change within a period of one month after the date of publication.  The Notice also provides no address to which objections can be addressed.

KGG has also criticised the Minister and the South African Geographic Names Council for giving the impression, as widely reported, that by publication of the name change in the Government Gazette the name change was final. By law the Minisiter is required to consider all objections before making a final decision on the matter and must also provide reasons for accepting or rejecting the objections.

Until then the name of Grahamstown remains Grahamstown.

The spokesperson for KGG, Adv Jock McConnachie, said that notices issued in respect of other recent name changes such as those of Queenstown, Alice and Elliot were also defective for the same reason and, as in the case of Grahamstown, did not follow a proper public consultation process in accordance with what has been laid down by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“The validity of such name changes are accordingly open to challenge”, said Adv McConnachie.

Meanwhile, objections to the renaming of Grahamstown are flooding into the office of the Minister of Arts & Culture and are being copied to KGG.

“We have already received more than 200 and more are being received by the hour,” he said.

McConnachie also reported that confirmation had been received by the South African Geographic Names Council that objections would be dealt with in accordance with the legal requirements.

“The SAGNC is not the proper body to provide such confirmation”, said McConnachie.  “The Minister of Arts & Culture is now seized with the matter and the confirmation must come from him directly.  Such confirmation can also not correct last week’s defective notice and the Minister must also explain why he issued a statement giving the misleading impression that by publication of the notice the name change became final and that Grahamstown’s name is now Makhanda.  It is not,” said McConnachie.

The address for objections is:  Minister of Arts & Culture, Hon N Mthethwa, c/o Ms Leonah Smith

Objections should refer to the Notice and should be copied to

The KGG’s own submission will be made together a lawyer’s letter within the period allowed by law, McConnachie added.  “The lawyer’s letter will highlight the irregularities in the process which led to last weeks’s notice and to the defective notice itself,” McConnachie said.


Issued By:  Jock McConnachie & Sigidla Ndumo, Joint Co-ordinators Keep Grahamstown Grahamstown (KGG).