Controversial ‘Ibhayi’ name may be canned

                                         Nqaba Bhanga Picture: Judy de Vega

The name “Ibhayi” in reference to Port Elizabeth’s north-eastern townships could be scrapped altogether as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality attempts to distance itself from the oppressive connotations associated with the term.

The move was sparked by the title of a spatial development framework document which referred to New Brighton and Kwazakhele collectively as Ibhayi.

The document outlines the city’s plans for development in the two townships.

Last month, councillors of the human settlements portfolio committee said the word “Ibhayi” should be removed and replaced with the names of the two areas.

The proposal came from ANC councillors Andile Mfunda and Ncediso Captain, who said the word had apartheid connotations and was the name of a city council which had served a segregated city.

Yesterday, human settlements portfolio committee chairman Nqaba Bhanga reaffirmed this at a mayoral committee meeting.

He said it would be ensured that all residents had their say.

“We are going to follow the legal process to change the name Ibhayi to New Brighton and Kwazakhele.”

He said the proposal was part of the department’s plan to transform Port Elizabeth townships into suburbs.

“We want to move away from this Ibhayi sentiment as we want to turn the area into a suburb and we want this to be reflected in our spatial planning framework,” he said.

Deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani raised concerns about not getting feedback from the public first, saying the coalition government should not be caught off-guard by the opposition when the proposal was discussed by the full council.

“Are there any policies in place that will guide us in changing this, instead of us deciding we will change this only to have opposition parties hammering us as they always do?” he said.

“Must we then develop a policy?

“What are the processes that we must follow as a city to change this?”

Human settlements executive director Nolwandle Gqiba said they were holding discussions with the sports, recreation, arts and culture department about following all the legal prescripts.

Mayor Athol Trollip said the name should be changed in documents, subject to all legal processes being followed.

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