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DA says it opposes 'frivolous' renaming of Port Elizabeth to Gqebera

Nov 11, 2019
DA says it opposes 'frivolous' renaming of Port Elizabeth to Gqebera

Port Elizabeth - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape says it will not support a project to rename Port Elizabeth to Gqebera. The name is currently used to refer to Walmer Township, in Port Elizabeth.

"The Eastern Cape Geographical Names Committee’s call to change the name of Port Elizabeth to Gqebera is a slap in the face of the poor and suffering people of the province and the Democratic Alliance (DA) will never support this," said DA Eastern Cape, Nqaba Bhanga.

"The Eastern Cape government will have to spend millions of rands to change the name while 36.5% of the residents of the province, according to Stats SA’s most recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey, are unemployed.

"The province yet again has the highest expanded rate of unemployment in the country, at 46.5%. This translates to more than 1,2 million people in the province who are without work.

"Countrywide more than 10 million people are now unemployed."

Bhanga said that Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, who also plans to change the name of the province, "is clearly out of touch with the needs of the people".

"The Eastern Cape is currently suffering under a crippling drought. Taps are running dry and farmers are losing their livestock and crops. The millions that would be spent on name changes can be used instead to assist our farmers," Bhanga said.

"The need for drought assistance is great, especially after the provincial department for rural development and agrarian reform only made R3,2 million available to assist farmers.

"The name Port Elizabeth defines, who we are and it has been the name identifying our Friendly City to generations of people. The majority of our people love the name of the City and do not find it offensive at all.

"Not all names from the past are offensive.

"Premier Mabuyane should focus instead on making sure that the failing Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is placed under administration and that Council is dissolved and the local government elections rerun."

He added that Nelson Mandela Bay is one of the top five municipalities in South Africa when it comes to irregular expenditure and is currently ungovernable due to corruption, maladministration and violence.

"Changing the names of the province and Port Elizabeth must be the last thing on Premier Mabuyane’s priority list."

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