The Broadcasting Complaints Commission ruled this week that the SABC
may not refer to Pretoria as “Tshwane” in its news bulletins, writes Sashni Pather in The Times.

Following complaints by Afrikaner group AfriForum, the commission ruled that, if the state broadcaster did it again, it would face “sanction”, which could mean a fine of up to R50000 — or a slap on the wrist.

AfriForum’s chief executive, Kallie Kriel, complained to the broadcasting watchdog, saying that the use of “Tshwane” constituted unequal and unfair treatment of Pretoria in comparison to other cities.

The commission found that, when the SABC reported on events in Pretoria, it used the name “Tshwane”, which is the name of the municipality in which Pretoria is located. But when it reported on events in Durban or Port Elizabeth, it used those names and not those of the municipalities eThekwini and Nelson Mandela Bay respectively.

Tshwane has not been officially registered as a place name.

In response to the complaint, the SABC said: “In respect of comment, we referred to the Durban High Court, yes we did, because there is no eThekwini high court”.

“Neither is there a Tshwane high court, so we refer to cases in the Pretoria High Court [sic] when they happen there.

“The p residential guest house is, indeed, in Tshwane, not in the suburb of Pretoria. The commercial crimes court is, indeed, in Port Elizabeth.”

But SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: “We will abide by the [commission’s] ruling and will send a notification to all reporters to refrain from using the term.”

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