Business, tourism seek legal advice over Nelspruit name change

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By: 
Tshwarelo Mogakane

Mbombela - More than 600 businesses in Mpumalanga are seeking legal advice on how to challenge the renaming of Nelspruit to Mbombela.

The companies, which are represented by the Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism (LCBT), argue that the consultation process conducted before Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana, gazetted the name change on 16 October was unfair.

"The chamber will take legal advice to establish the most effective way to proceed with their objection to the name change," said the chamber's board correspondent, Linda Grimbeek.

"Our representatives are not aware of any consultation meetings they may have missed," she said.

It was suggested by the name change committee last week that they had missed meetings.

Grimbeek said consultation invitations from the provincial geographical names committee and the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) often arrived very late and it was difficult to accommodate the meetings.

She said the Lowveld region was host to many of the country's tourism destinations and travellers would be confused by the use of the name Mbombela.

"The second main objection is that Nelspruit's name is not politically offensive in any way. The chamber consulted a reputable historian to attest to the facts and history of the name."

SAGNC councillor and provincial geographical names committee deputy chairperson Mpyane Ratau-Dlamini has reiterated that the necessary consultation was done.

"There is proof, including documents that show details of meetings, attendance registers, dates, times and venues where they were held," said Ratau-Dlamini.