The name change of the Potchefstroom local municipality to Tlokwe local municipality is effective immediately, the North West local government and housing department said on Tuesday.

"MEC Howard Yawa approved the changing of the municipality (name) to Tlokwe last week. The new name, Tlokwe is effective immediately," said the MEC's spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele.

"Only the municipality has been renamed and not the Potchefstroom town," he added.

Kgwele said the municipality had been renamed following consultation with residents in the area.

"There was consultation at the municipal level including residents and submissions were made to the MEC. There was overwhelming support for the renaming of the municipality.

"This was at municipal level, there was no need for a process that involves the Geographic names committee," he said.

Spokesperson for the Potchefstroom mayor Kaizer Mohau said that the city council and residents welcomed the new name change.

"The resolution to change the name came from residents. Very few people opposed the renaming of the municipality to Tlokwe.

"This historic announcement will ensure that demographics are reflected through all aspects of our city including the names of our important institutions," he said.

However, Theo Venter, spokesperson for the civil society group Action Potchefstroom said residents were not properly informed about the process.

He said that he became aware of the name change only recently.

"It was in the government gazette yesterday (Monday). The MEC took a decision that encompasses the renaming of the municipality, the renaming of street names as well as buildings," he said.

"We are still going to take the matter to the court. Proper consultation with the wards was not conducted. Our legal team is preparing to take the matter to court again."

The Tlokwe local municipality includes areas such as Ikageng, Mohadin and Kanana. - Sapa