4 June 2018

South Africa: Emotions Run High At Public Meeting On CT International Airport Renaming

Photo: flowcomm/Flickr
Inside Cape Town International Airport.

Tempers flared during a public meeting regarding the renaming of Cape Town International Airport on Monday.

Members of the public were invited to the airport to voice their opinions on the Airports Company South Africa's (ACSA's) proposed renaming of the airport, under the Transformation of Heritage Landscape Government Programme.

Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who arrived in their trademark red regalia, strongly supported the suggestion that the airport be named after late struggle hero Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. While members of the Khoi community were in favour of the name Krotoa - after the historic Khoi figure.

The meeting quickly dissolved into chaos when member of controversial organisation Gatvol Capetonians, Ebrahiem Davids, said: "Winnie Mandela was never part of this country."

EFF members started chanting and took over the meeting.

"We will not allow anyone to divide us. We are all here because of Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela," shouted one EFF member to thunderous applause.

It took independent facilitator Sadia Chand some time to regain control of the meeting.

Malibongwe Badi, secretary of the Khayelitsha Development Forum said the contestation was between Mama Winnie and Sarah Baartman.

"But, as people of Khayelitsha, we have seen Winnie suffer in front of us. As representatives of 2.4 million people, we choose Winnie Madikizela-Mandela."

'We are sick and tired of the Mandelas'

David Kamfer, provincial chairperson of the Independent Civic Organisation of SA said: "We are sick and tired of the Mandelas. We are here to tell people to stand up and say this land belongs to us! We want to take it and change it to Krotoa International Airport."

An EFF member later told News24 that there was only one option, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

"We don't want to hear other names. People are trying to cause trouble and divide us with talks of first nation status."

The public meeting forms part of the public participation prescribed in the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA).

East London Airport, Port Elizabeth International Airport and Kimberley Airport are also subject to renaming as part of the Transformation of Heritage Landscape Government Programme.

Names of struggle stalwarts Madikizela-Mandela, Robert Sobukwe and Albertina Sisulu are the frontrunners, based on social media reactions.

However, ACSA corporate affairs manager Deidre Davids said it was premature to "signal trends and conclusions" until the public participation process concluded on June 6.

Once the public participation process was complete, a report of conclusions and recommendations would be compiled.

"This report will be submitted to our principals and the competent authorities, namely the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Transport.

According to the PAJA, a notice containing a concise summary of the report must be published in the government gazette.

The proposed renaming will be implemented in terms of the South African Geographical Names Council Act.

Due to the disruptions, the meeting was called off.

Source: News24

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