Louis Trichardt / Makhado, Limpopo. Picture: Google Maps

Polokwane - A public consultation process will be held on the Limpopo town of Makhado reverting to its old name of Louis Trichardt, the arts and culture department said on Friday.

“Every change, standardisation or revisiting of a place name has to be initiated either by groups of citizens, acting together, or by municipal authorities, exercising a popular mandate,” it said in a statement.

“The Makhado municipality will have to initiate a new consultative process based on the new public mandate.”

The High Court in Pretoria set aside the name change of Louis Trichardt to Makhado.

The department said it would abide by the court's decision that a new process of public consultation take place.

The Star reported on Friday that the name change had been reversed after the minister of arts and culture and disgruntled residents, known as the Chairpersons' Association, reportedly reached an agreement that was made a court order on Thursday.

In terms of the agreement, the minister agreed that his decision to approve the name change be set aside.

The paper reported that according to court papers, the chair of the SA Geographical Names Council was satisfied that adequate consultations were held prior to deciding to change the town's name.

However, the relevant local and provincial geographical names committees reportedly failed to ensure proper records of these consultations were kept.

“As a result, these records cannot be placed before court to prove on a balance of probabilities that consultations indeed took place in compliance with the (SA Geographical Names Council) Act,” lawyer Doris Tshepe told the court.

In September 2005, the Pretoria High Court dismissed an application for a review of the name-change process, which resulted in the town being renamed Makhado.

This was then taken to the Supreme Court of Appeals by the Louis Trichardt Chairpersons’ Association, which claimed that less than one percent of municipal residents were consulted about the change.

In 2007, the association won its appeal and the name change was reversed.

In October 2010, the department announced the renaming of Louis Trichardt to Makhado.