Ishmael Mnisi, Transport Minister Blade Nzimande’s spokesperson, said the department had received proposals for the renaming of the airport, as one of the national key points, after Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Robert Sobukwe.
Sisulu was a political activist and wife of Rivonia trialist Walter Sisulu. She became the first woman to be arrested under the General Laws Amendment Act, which entitled the apartheid government to detain a suspect for 90 days. Sisulu also participated in the 1956 march to the Union Buildings against the carrying of passes.
Sobukwe, a PAC leader, was jailed in 1960 and imprisoned on Robben Island for nine years for leading the anti-pass campaign. On the island, he was strictly prohibited from having contact with other prisoners.
Nzimande said: “Our ultimate preoccupation is to ensure that we name this airport after one of our heroes or heroines who contributed immensely to the attainment of a democratic South Africa, one that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous.”
Mnisi said the Transport Department and the Department of Arts and Culture, were still consulting.
“Minister Blade Nzimande believes it is important that such an important airport of national, regional and international significance should be named after one of our liberation icons who fought tirelessly against white supremacy and apartheid,” said Mnisi.
He said the government was working tirelessly to speed-up the consultative process and were hopeful it would be concluded in the next few months.
At the weekend, EFF leader Julius Malema, at Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral, called for Cape Town International Airport to be named after her.
PAC spokesperson Kenneth Mokgatle said the organisation had been canvassing for more than a decade to rename Cape Town International Airport after Sobukwe.
“People who possess power to ensure that they honour ‘Prof’ are doing the opposite, and that is to ensure that they continue to silence him even after his tragic death in 1978.”
Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said: “From a tourism perspective, the name Nelson Mandela already has a well-established reputation behind it, but it could potentially cause confusion due to the fact that a number of other places, like Nelson Mandela Bay, are named after him.”