Court overturns Makhado change

Selby Makgotho

Selby Makgotho

The supreme court of appeal in Bloemfontein yesterday ordered Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan and the SA Geographic Names' Committee to immediately reverse the name change of Makhado back to Louis Trichardt.

This follows an application brought by a group of people calling itself the Chairpersons' Association.

The association consists of more than 80000 people from the area, who submitted in court that they have not been consulted.

By late yesterday, embarrassed municipal officials who had been driving the process of changing the name of the town, were locked in an urgent meeting to determine the way forward.

The name was changed from Louis Trichardt to Makhado following a ministerial announcement in June 2003.

Sandile Memela, spokesman in Jordan's office, yesterday said they would abide by the decision of the appeal court.

"We believe the local officials who have been driving the process would be the ones to pay the costs," Memela said.

The association chairman, Andre Naude, yesterday said government had been warned against doing things in isolation.

Opposition parties yesterday also lashed out at the government's approach to name changes, saying the ANC-led government had valuable lessons to learn from the process.

Mike Holford, provincial leader of the Democratic Alliance yesterday said it concerned them that taxpayers would be the ones to foot the bill.

"If the consultative process had been done properly, there wouldn't be this problem," Holford said.

Louis Trichardt was originally named after the Voortrekker leader who arrived and settled in the area in the late 1700s.

Makhado was king of VhaVenda in the mid-1800s. Makhado fought historic battles against the injustices brought by the white supremacy.