The Eastern Cape government is considering an official name change for the province.
Speaking to BusinessTech, a spokesperson for Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane said that while officials were committed to the name change, this would be done in a “responsible manner”.
The spokesperson confirmed that Mabuyane has tasked the provincial MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture to work with the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) to work on the name change.
He said that part of this work would be ensuring that the people of the province understand the value of this name change as well as various towns within the province.
He added that the current name – both in English and other languages – does not ‘speak to who speak we are as the people of this province’.
The spokesperson said that there were specific issues with the isiXhosa name fo the Eastern Cape which effectively labels it as a ‘colony’.
“The focus is to link the name of the province to our aspirations as the people of the province, and the province that we want to have,” he said.
However, the spokesperson said that Mabuyane’ priority is on service delivery and that any potential name change would not take preference over this.
In 2018 the Eastern Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee (ECPGNC) held public hearings into proposed name changes in the Nelson Mandela Bay Local Municipality.
The hearing considered name changes for the city of Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth International Airport and the town of Uitenhage among other considerations.
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