The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) on Tuesday said the public consultation session around the renaming of Cape Town International Airport was ultimately properly concluded, despite minor demonstrations that disrupted proceedings.
Members of the public were invited to the airport yesterday to voice their opinions on ACSA's proposed renaming of the airport, under the Transformation of Heritage Landscape Government Programme.
About 800 people attended the meeting yesterday to make submissions.
The meeting was part of the renaming process that is defined by the South African Geographical Names Council Act of 1998 (Act No. 118) and government’s Handbook on Geographic Names.
Among the names up for consideration are former Statesman Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Robert Sobukwe, Albertina Sisulu and Krotoa, the historic Khoi figure proposed by the Khoi community.
The meeting quickly dissolved into chaos when member of controversial organisation Gatvol Capetonians, Ebrahiem Davids, said: "Winnie Mandela was never part of this country."
“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,” said ACSA in a statement.
It went on to say that the decision to close the meeting was made as its integrity had been undermined.
ACSA says the meeting was then reconvened and continued until the allocated time of 20h00 with many casting votes for their favourite name both verbally and by ballot.
It added that the process of gathering public input on possible names for airports is essential.
“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,” ACSA concluded.
Submissions on new names for the airport are still open until midnight on Wednesday.
Anyone who wishes to submit a proposed name may email
Corporate.Affairs@airports.co.za or firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions can also be hand-delivered to the Airports Company South Africa offices at the nearest airport or smses can be sent to 079 947 7410.