Name costs at least R30m

DEAD END: Limpopo will have to replace all Makhado road signs with ones that read
DEAD END: Limpopo will have to replace all Makhado road signs with ones that read "Louis Trichardt" after the renaming debacle in the province. Pic. Edward Maahlamela. © Sowetan.

Selby Makgotho

Selby Makgotho

Limpopo's hasty decision to change the name of Louis Trichardt to Makhado has left the local municipality red-faced and with the huge and expensive task of changing its road signs again.

Late last month, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein ruled that, because there had not been sufficient consultation before the renaming, Makhado would have to revert to being Louis Trichardt

Earlier, the Pretoria high court had ruled in favour of renaming Louis Trichardt as Makhado. But concerned businesspeople from the town appealed to the SCA to have that ruling overturned.

The court put the blame for the bungle squarely on the shoulders of the local municipality and the South African Geographical Names Commission for not consulting all parties.

Bohani Shivambu, chief executive of the Provincial Roads Agency, yesterday said the name change would not take place overnight.

"Other road signs, costing R30million, must still be replaced in the province and we don't have enough funds," Shivambu said.

Even the N1, the responsibility of the National Roads Authority, was short of money.

Peter Magwala, spokesman for the Makhado municipality, said that a special council meeting would be held tomorrow. He said he expected all 73 councillors to attend and hoped that members of the public would also be there.

"We hope we will be able to chart the way forward in a much more progressive way," he said.

Asked if the municipality would appeal the SCA ruling, Magwala would not comment.