Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane is committed to changing the name of the province, but wants to do it “responsibly”.
The premier has indicated that his administration would resuscitate the name change initiative, put on the table as far back as 2002, saying it was not a forgotten project, reported the Daily Dispatch.
Former premier Makhenkesi Stofile announced five Xhosa names, intended to be used alongside the English name, Eastern Cape, for the province during a Heritage Day event in 2002.
They included KwaXhosa (Xhosa land), KwaNtu (province of the people), Eastern Cape (untranslated in isiXhosa), Ekhaleni (aloe) and eNciba (Kei River), The Herald reported at the time.
Mabuyane made his intentions known in a speech at a Heritage Day event in Dutywa, reported the Daily Dispatch.
”During the state of the province address in February I will outline more on how the process will unfold and what shape it will take. But the fact is that we will have to resume the process that was started by Reverend Stofile to rename our province,” he said.
The initiative has drawn some criticism on social media, with a few commentators pointing out that the province had more pressing issues to tackle.
I can't believe this is what keeps ANC leaders awake at night while the people of the Eastern Cape struggle even with basic service delivery. If a person has to get water from a filthy stream, they share with animals, do they give a damn about a name change? https://t.co/xLWMz9SXhq
— Unathi Kwaza (@Unathi_Kwaza) November 4, 2019
Premier @OscarMabuyane the Eastern Cape doesn't need a name change, focus on changing people's lives first. Name changes do not contribute towards bettering the lives of the people in one of SA's poorest provinces. Let's see what's your priority; changing people's lives or names?
— His Excellency (@eemz_siphiwo) November 5, 2019
Name change on the table again for Eastern Cape , really guys.?? Eyona province isokolayo all we care about is changing names?🤮
— Sonwabile Spayidile (@sosospay) November 4, 2019