Outcry over call for name changes

East Lon­don­ers slam BCM for not pri­ori­tis­ing up­keep of in­fra­struc­ture

Go! & Express - - Front Page - QHAMANI LINGANI

ETheir views on pri­or­i­ties are not ac­cu­rate at all and to me this seems to be more out of greed for po­lit­i­cal fame by our mayor

ARLIER this month Buf­falo City Metro mayor Xola Pakati pushed for a ge­o­graph­i­cal name change in East Lon­don and its main road – Ox­ford Street, as well as King Wil­liam’s Town, as re­ported in our sis­ter news­pa­per Daily Dis­patch.

Pakati was re­ported as say­ing the ge­o­graph­i­cal name change means restor­ing the orig­i­nal names of some of the ar­eas within our ju­ris­dic­tion.

How­ever, the East Lon­don pub­lic are not at all pleased by this pro­posal which was treated as a mat­ter of ur­gency at a coun­cil meet­ing. Most want ser­vices to be pri­ori­tised first.

Neil Smith, who runs the Fix Our Bro­ken City Face­book page, said it was grossly ir­re­spon­si­ble of the ANC-led mu­nic­i­pal­ity to sug­gest name changes and the ex­pense that goes along with it, against a back­ground of the non-de­liv­ery of ba­sic ser­vices.

“Name changes do not give peo­ple jobs, clean up the streets or put food in peo­ple’s mouths. I am all for hav­ing names that re­flect our cul­tural iden­tity bet­ter, but not at the ex­pense of in­fra­struc­ture main­te­nance,” Smith said.

Pakati said last week: “We are here in East Lon­don and King Wil­liam’s Town and we are no longer sub­jects of the Queen of Bri­tain and what we have here is the colo­nial era names of our ar­eas.”

East Lon­doner Gio­vanni Red­cliffe, who helped start the Buf­falo Flats Ratepay­ers and Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion page, said if BCM in­fra­struc­ture was in a good state, then the ex­pen­di­ture of much-needed fund­ing would have been wel­comed bet­ter.

“BCM wants to in­crease tar­iffs, yet fails to prop­erly main­tain roads and parks. Now it wants to waste money on names changes.

“Their views on pri­or­i­ties are not ac­cu­rate at all and to me this seems to be more out of greed for po­lit­i­cal fame by our mayor,” said Red­cliffe.

An­other res­i­dent, Nomsa Mbabama, com­mented on the Dis­patch ar­ti­cle on Face­book in much the same way as many oth­ers did.

“The towns in BCM are dirty, garbage is not col­lected rou­tinely and ev­ery­thing is over­grown with weeds and full of pot­holes – and our main pri­or­ity is to change names?” ques­tioned Mbabama.

Daily Dis­patch re­ported that Pakati said: “The ge­o­graph­i­cal names in BCM should re­flect the ‘rich and di­verse cul­ture, nat­u­ral re­sources, re­li­gious, eth­nic and his­tor­i­cal her­itage of the area’.”

Siya Madondile also re­sponded to the Dis­patch post, say­ing: “I per­son­ally don’t have a prob­lem with chang­ing street names, but I think the main pri­or­ity should be the town­ships.

“I know it will cost mil­lions to change names and those mil­lions can be used to erad­i­cate shacks in Dun­can Vil­lage and other squat­ter camps.”

Buf­falo Flats res­i­dent Bur­ton Brown said: “The CBD and other parts of the metro are dirty and up­side down but our mayor is wor­ried about name changes! There is noth­ing wrong with this th­ese name changes, but clearly the pri­or­ity should be to get the metro back into shape.”

Mongameli Bhanqo Mdu­mane said: “Ev­ery other place has changed names re­flect­ing our new dis­pen­sa­tion. So, af­ter 23 years of democ­racy, you still have the name East Lon­don, like re­ally? King Wil­liam’s Town? As if th­ese places were name­less be­fore the ar­rival of the set­tlers. Time for change.”

Amos Mtatase, also re­act­ing to the Dis­patch ar­ti­cle, said: “I truly sup­port the mat­ter of name change, but it can’t be the pri­or­ity. Have you ever no­ticed how dirty East Lon­don is? It’s a dis­grace.

“You want to change those dirty street names with the names of our he­roes? Are you re­ally proud of those he­roes? Flats in East Lon­don need to be painted and the win­dows are bro­ken.

“Some­times I ask my­self if the mayor of East Lon­don knew what East Lon­don looked like dur­ing apartheid? Can’t we take what was good dur­ing the apartheid era and live with it?

“I don’t think there is even one hero that will be proud of his name on a dirty street.”

The na­tional De­part­ment of Tourism, Sports, Re­cre­ation, Arts and Cul­ture and Her­itage will work closely to­gether with the BCM to im­ple­ment this project.

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