5 June 2018

South Africa: We Will Not Be Influenced By Threats On Airport Name Change - ACSA

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) says it will not be influenced by threats after chaos erupted at a public meeting on the renaming of Cape Town International Airport on Monday night.

In a statement, ACSA spokesperson Deirdre Davids said decisions would also not be made based on "who shouted the loudest" at the public meeting.

This as tempers flared at the event where members of the public were invited to voice their opinions on the proposed renaming of the airport under the Transformation Of Heritage Landscape Government Programme.

Members of the EFF strongly supported that the airport be named after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

When a member of the controversial group Gatvol Capetonians commented that Madikizela-Mandela was never part of the province, the meeting descended into chaos.

Davids said that despite the disruptions at the meeting, which was attended by about 800 people, the public consultation was ultimately properly concluded.

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"There were many in attendance who had come to make their representations peacefully and cooperatively. There were others who appeared to have come with the specific intention to disrupt the meeting," she said.

"When the intention of the meeting was disregarded and when other attendees were threatened, it was imperative that Airports Company South Africa protect the integrity of the consultation and the safety of those in attendance. The meeting was therefore declared closed until the disruptors had agreed to proceed in a more respectful manner."

When the meeting reconvened, votes were cast both verbally and by ballot until 20:00, she said.

Davids said those who did not have the opportunity to make their voice heard could still do so until midnight on June 6.

"Proposals made by email and through other channels will carry equal weight to those made at public meetings. The process of gathering public input on possible names for airports is an essential and prescribed element of the renaming process. Everyone has the right to be heard and Airports Company South Africa will continue to ensure that all views on renaming of airports are taken into consideration," said Davids.

Source: News24

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