Cape Town airport name change ditched
Cape Town – The plan to rename Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) has been quietly abandoned.
This followed a deadlock over which historic icon to honour, nearly three years after the wheels were set in motion rename the airport.
The Sport, Arts and Culture Department has said the public consultation process reached no consensus, leading to the renaming effort to be abandoned.
“It is true that the Department of Transport and Airports Company SA held a public consultation meeting at the Cape Town International Airport in 2018.
“During the public meeting a number of groups attending the meeting proposed different names like Krotoa and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela airport.
“The public consultation meeting reached no consensus and the renaming process was abandoned without a recommendation to the SA Geographical Names Council and the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture,” the department said.
The development comes as Port Elizabeth Airport will now be named Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport, after the government enacted a series of name changes of towns and airports this week as part of its Transformation of Heritage Landscape programme.
Port Elizabeth is now called Gqeberha, while the Eastern Cape town of Uitenhage is now called Kariega.
The name changes also took place in the Buffalo City Metro Municipality, with East London Airport now called King Phalo Airport, while the town of Berlin now to be referred to as Ntabozuko.
On renaming the Cape Town International Airport, an Acsa spokesperson and the Department of Transport last night said they would respond to questions in due course.
The process of the airport’s name change was propelled into the public light at Struggle hero Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral when EFF leader Julius Malema ended his speech with a call to the ANC to rename the airport after her.
Acsa at the time told the Cape Times they had already been directed by then-Transport Minister Blade Nzimande in March that same year to facilitate the process of changing the name.
Madikizela-Mandela’s name, as well as Struggle stalwarts Albertina Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, Nelson Mandela, and Khoisan princess Krotoa were also considered.
The process had started off rocky at the time when a meeting at the CTIA (Cape Town International Airport) had to be called off when it descended into verbal attacks between around 800 people, with support split between EFF support for the renaming of the airport after Madikizela-Mandela, while members of the Khoi community pushed for Krotoa.
The Independent Civic Organisation of SA (Icosa) and the EFFs provincial leaders both said last night they had not been informed of the latest development.
Icosa provincial leader Dawid Kamfer said they were disappointed at having been left in the dark.
“We went through the process properly, as we were expected to. We really want to see the airport renamed after Krotoa – they should’ve let us know something,” he said.
EFF provincial spokesperson Wandile Kasibe expressed similar views on not having been informed.
He said they should be told why the process was abandoned.
“It’s important that we know the outcomes and what transpired.There’s not been any consultation with us even though we made submissions,” he said.