Minister of Sports, Art and Culture on the renaming of Engcobo Municipality to Dr AB Xuma Municipality
On Friday the 23rd of September 2022 Pretoria News published an article titled “Royal family rejects renaming of municipality after AB Xuma”. This article indicates that the AmaQwathi Royal Council distance themselves from plans by Minister Nathi Mthethwa and the Engcobo Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape to rename the municipality after former ANC president Dr AB Xuma.
The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture would like to clarify that Minister Mthethwa does not have any jurisdiction over the naming and renaming of municipalities. The naming and renaming of municipalities is the responsibility of MECs responsible for local government in terms of sections 16 (a) and (b) of the Local Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998.
The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture is responsible for features of national concern that includes villages, towns, cities, rivers, dams, and airports. This mandate is in terms of the South African Geographical Names Council Act 118 of 1998.
The two pieces of legislation defines the responsibilities and limitation of the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture. In particular, it affirms the fact that in relation to the proposed renaming of the Engcobo Local Municipality, such is not within the mandate of the Minister.
The article of Pretoria News confused the mandate of the Minister responsible for the naming of features of national concern with the local mandate of naming local features like municipalities.