The Democratic Alliance’s Nelson Mandela Metro mayor, Nqaba Bhanga, says the municipality is considering all options, including legal action, to prevent the new names of towns in the metro of becoming permanent.

Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, earlier decided to set aside all objections that were submitted against the name changes.

Port Elizabeth was changed to Gqeberha and Uitenhage to Kariega in February. Mthethwa says the South African Geographical Names Council reviewed the objections and advised him accordingly.

Bhanga says the metro needs names that unify people.

“More than 65 000 people took a decision to object on the name and what the Minister has just done was only to recognise the 391 people who participated in those meetings. Out of 1.3 million people in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. We are not opposed to the name change, but we are opposed to is that we need names that unify people. Therefore, we are considering taking a legal recourse to oppose this in court as part of our democratic right.”

Bhanga requests a reversal of the new name for Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and the Airport:

Other towns that have been renamed are Berlin and Maclear, which have been changed to Ntabozuko and Nqanqarhu, respectively.

In March this year, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality submitted its objections to the name changes of Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and the Port Elizabeth Airport to Minister Mthethwa, saying the process was not inclusive.

Bhanga says the names do not represent the rainbow nation the country is striving to become.