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I’m not sure if this is good news or bad news, but my intuition tells me this may be a clever ploy by the Tshwane Metro Council to catch us off guard at a later date and bulldoze the process through. Although Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, did say that they were ready for any eventuality, the question is… Will the rest of us be ready?
Metro cancels meetings re Pretoria’s name after overwhelming public support for the capital city’s name
By Esmarie Prinsloo
08 October, 2013
AfriForum learnt from a reliable source that the Tshwane Metro Council decided to cancel public participation meetings, planned for 12 October, regarding the changing of Pretoria’s name, after it became clear that AfriForum’s campaign for the retention of the name Pretoria mobilised great support from the public. Within a few days after the campaign was launched, more than 160 000 members of the public made their voices heard for the retention of Pretoria’s name by SMSing their name to 31481.
According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, the cancelling of the public meetings is a victory to all who – through social media and via SMS – put pressure on the Metro Council to not go ahead with the name change process.
“The Metro Council’s plan to evade the results of last year’s public participation process, in which 81 % of participants supported the retention of Pretoria’s name, with a new process on 12 October, was stopped in its tracks by the practical demonstration of the overwhelming support for Pretoria’s name,” Kriel said.
Kriel emphasized that the victory with the cancellation however does not mean that the battle for Pretoria’s name has been won. According to him AfriForum and supporters of Pretoria should stay alert and keep on supporting Pretoria’s name. Kriel therefor indicated that AfriForum will proceed with their SMS petition and will again host a music festival at the Voortrekker Monument to show support for Pretoria’s name on Saturday, 2 November.
“It’s necessary, as the ANC will proceed with the name changing process if they suspect that support for the capital city’s name is weakening,” Kriel added.
According to Kriel, AfriForum is ready for any eventuality if the Metro Council would arrange public participation meetings on short notice to bulldoze the process through.
“New technology and social media fortunately make it easy to mobilise the more than 160 000 South Africans on short notice who showed their support via SMS,” Kriel said.
Kriel thanked the public on behalf of AfriForum for their continued support for the retention of Pretoria’s name, “as the warding off of the name change over the past eight and a half years would not have been possible without the overwhelming public support.”
Click here for the Afrikaans version.