Is George getting a new name?

Thursday 5 October 2023

The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport has taken note of erroneous claims that the town of George has changed its name to Goringhaikona.

Provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais has cautioned against such rumours, pointing out that there is a legally required route to have a geographical name changed, and that such a route has not been followed in the case of George.

“Those interested in submitting name change applications for geographical features in the Western Cape are encouraged to peruse the relevant section on the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s website and also to consult the Policy for the Naming and Renaming of Geographical Features,” Marais said.

“Citizens in the Western Cape seeking a name change of a geographical feature should follow these steps for consideration by the Western Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee (WCPGNC). This process applies to naming or renaming both natural and man-made geographical features, whether they are occupied or unoccupied,” Marais continued.

Applications are done on the following manner. Any application which does not follow this process, is not valid:

Step 1: Complete the relevant Name Change Application Form, by filling out the following details:

  • The current name and its meaning.
  • A proposed new name (include a second choice).
  • Origin and significance of the proposed name.
  • Evidence of Public Consultation

It is the responsibility of the applicant to conduct prior public consultations with the affected communities before submitting an application, which should include evidence of these consultations. Submit the completed application form, along with all required documentation, to the Western Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee (WCPGNC). For general enquiries or to obtain a Name Change Application Form from please contact Anita Du Preez

Once the form has been sent, a name change application process will begin.

The following steps are then followed: 

  • WCPGNC will review all duly completed name change applications. If necessary, they may refer it to experts for further evaluation.
  • If the WCPGNC is satisfied with the application and its contents, they will recommend the name change to the provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport.
  • If the provincial Minister supports the application it is sent to the national body, the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) for consideration.
  • If the SAGNC is satisfied with the application, they will recommend the name change to the national Minister responsible for arts and culture.
  • Once the national Minister approves the name change, it will be published in the Government Gazette.

“The process is clear. No such process has been followed in the case of the town of George. Any comments about a name change for George are thus ill-advised and incorrect,” Minister Marais concluded.

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