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Odd Street naming in Selebi Phikwe

Publishing Date : 15 August, 2017


SELEBI PHIKWE: In what seems to be a lack of understanding of the guidelines, the Local Authority here has approved very strange names for the streets, roads and public facilities.

Selebi Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) on Thursday told the media that all streets, roads, public facilities and areas within its jurisdiction that are named after people will carry their work titles to indicate right away in what capacity is the person being honoured. Here, an area, road, street or public facility named after a teacher, its name will have to reflect that the person was a teacher. An example is an industrial area in Botshabelo location which has been named ‘Councillor Tidimane,’ named after the late Michael Tidimane, one of the renowned councillors for that area. This will be the pattern in Selebi Phikwe which is inconsistent with the rest of the country. Unique but strange.

Lazarus Kolanyane, SPTC’s Chief Physical Planner says this arrangement is as per the Local Government Act, No. 18 of 2012 which has informed the formulation of guidelines that Local Authorities around the country use for the naming exercise. However, this particular item of prefixing the names with occupational titles is not stipulated in the very same guidelines that the council has used for this purpose. Kolanyane is nevertheless adamant that their arrangement is guided by the national guidelines notwithstanding the fact that this strange prefixing is not expressly stipulated on the said guidelines.

The draft National Guidelines on Naming of Streets, Roads and Public Facilities of 2014 that the council has used, provide general guidance on the procedures to be followed in the naming exercise by the Local Authorities.  It is stipulated in the guidelines that “in naming the streets and public facilities, the Local Authorities shall ensure that the guidelines are followed in order to achieve consistency throughout the country.”

As it stands, if SPTC execute its naming and re-naming project in its current form, the national consistency will not be achieved as Selebi Phikwe will be different from all other areas in the country. The guidelines regulates and standardizes the processes associated with the naming and re-naming and it informs and influences the types of names that are chosen from various features as well as spell out the procedure that should be followed in the naming and re-naming process. But Selebi Phikwe dares to be different.

The Director of Local Government Development Planning, Tshepo Mophuting has however dismissed SPTC’s prefixing arrangement as inconsistent with the guidelines which are binding and must be followed by all local authorities undertaking the naming or re-naming exercise. He explained that the use of people’s names is recognised as being a way of honouring certain individuals for their contribution to the development of the country, their towns or districts.

Mophuting further explained that the issue of why a particular individual is chosen only come as reasons motivating why the person has to be honoured but not explicitly coming out as part of the name. He stressed that the naming must be aligned with accepted planning procedures and current trends.

Meanwhile, Mophuting has also explained the reason why Botswana still continue to honour the dead instead of the living even though the law permits that people still alive can also have streets, roads and public facilities named after them. He says the discomfort lies in that people who are still alive may in one way or the other cause damage to their illustrious reputations in the course of their remaining lives thus tarnishing their honour.

However, former president of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela has streets and roads named after him here in Botswana, an honour that he received while he was still alive. The Director says only in exceptional circumstances will the names of living persons be given consideration. Without explaining the circumstances, he said here at home the late Julia Molefe was also honoured while she was still alive. Block 9 clinic in Gaborone was named Julia Molefe Clinic and she enjoyed the honour while she still lived. In the rare event that the names of living persons are considered, the names shall only be sanctioned by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.



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