According to Section 6(2)(b) of the South African Geographical Names Council Act of 1998 (Act No. 118 of 1998), the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has the responsibility to establish a computerized database, a library, reference material and document archives.
They developed a GIS database and Web-Portal (website) known as the South African Geographical Names System (SAGNS) to ensure compliance with provisions of the Act. The SAGNS’s main role is to manage, store, capture, analyze and publish data relating to standardized names.
On the 7th of September 2022, the SAGNS system was launched and celebrated as one of the key achievements of the Department, together with the South African Geographical Council (SAGNC), and a progressive move toward promoting the transformation of the geographical names heritage landscape.
STRATEGIC AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
• Create an online platform that enables members of the public direct access to information and documentation relating to geographical name standardization processes.
• Manage, maintain, capture, and store data relating to standardized names in one central database.
• Modernize the name change or standardization of application processes.
• Promote and create awareness about the transformation of the heritage landscape.
1. STRATEGIC PARTNERS
• The South African Geographical Names Council
• All Provincial Geographical Names Committees
The South African Geographical Names Council was established in terms of the South African Geographical Names Council Act, Act 118 of 1998. The council plays an advisory role to the Minister on the standardization of geographical names of features such as Towns, Cities, Villages, Rivers, Mountains, Airports and Highways, to list a few.
The SAGNS is the SAGNC’s GIS platform composed of a database and a website. The system has 1440 names that have been standardized by the SAGNC since the year 2000. These names include registrations of new settlements and name changes of major Cities Such as Polokwane and airports such as O R Tambo international.
The platform enables users to track and trace their name change applications, download documents such as the Act or Application form, search for names and digitally load applications onto the system. Internal users or staff can generate various statistical reports and create maps. Basically, the site is a one-stop shop hub for all information relating to the standardization of names.
THE LAUNCH OF SAGNS
The launch of SAGNS was done in collaboration with the Department of Sport Arts and culture. The launch was a physical event which featured a short programme that included a brief demonstration of the Website’s capabilities. The event took place on the 7th of September 2022.
The SAGNS Website Launch event
The official programme featured the Acting DG of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and the Chairperson of the South African Geographical Names Council. Various heads of entities of the Department, members of the SAGNC and other relevant Stakeholders were in attendance. The Acting DG delivered the keynote address at the event.
The Acting Director General Mr Vusithemba Ndima stated “As part of the Department’s achievements in driving the transformation agenda, the national Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is pleased to announce that it has established a geographical names database and web-portal” in his keynote address. This was followed by the demonstration of the website functionality.