Pretoria - Unexpected support for the preservation of Pretoria's name, and political wrangling in the run-up to the ANC's Mangaung conference, has led to the ongoing name-change saga being temporarily shelved, according to a report on Thursday.

Residents in the Pretoria metro were given the opportunity, after a public participation event on 16 November, to indicate whether they were for or against the proposed name change from Pretoria to Tshwane, Beeld reported.

The Tshwane speaker's office, which is handling the process, apparently realised with a shock when the “votes” were counted that there was a lot more support for Pretoria than Tshwane.

In addition, Beeld reported, the name change issue has recently had to take a back seat in the ANC-Tshwane district, because political survival at Mangaung has become the top priority.

The party's leadership had reportedly planned to make a recommendation to Paul Mashatile, minister of arts and culture, regarding the name change by the end of November.

“Pretoria's name has been thrown a temporary life jacket, and will see 2013,” an ANC insider told Beeld.

The ANC regarded the support for Pretoria as “unnatural” and would like to establish whether “ghost votes” were cast, the insider said.

Speaker Morakane Mosupyoe declined to comment to Beeld. - Sapa