The public has until Wednesday to comment on the proposed name changes to four airports: Cape Town International, East London Airport, Port Elizabeth International, and Kimberley Airport, the Cape Times reported. The Department of Transport and the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) will implement the name changes "as soon as possible".
There have been growing calls to name Cape Town International after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, following EFF leader Julius Malema's call to do so at the struggle stalwart's funeral earlier this year.
The EFF ramped up its campaign on Twitter recently, encouraging people to submit proposed name changes by the closing date.
Let's all email our proposals that Cape Town International Airport be renamed to #WinnieMadikizelMandelaAirpot
Send email to ACSA using this email address: email@example.com
Or Call: 011 723 1400
Deadline: 6 JUNE 2018 #WinnieMadikizelaMandelaAirport pic.twitter.com/BTUy465c1q— #RegisterToVoteEFF (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) June 3, 2018
SMS your name change proposals for the Cape Town International Airport to be renamed to Winnie Madikizela Mandela Airport to 079 974 7410.— Babes Womzabalazo (@NalediChirwa) May 30, 2018
But the EFF may be too late. Transport minister Blade Nzimande reportedly instructed Acsa to start the process of naming the airport after former president Nelson Mandela, according to The Sowetan.
Acsa reportedly told The Sowetan that due process will occur, including a public participation process, but that Nzimande had made his request on March 22.
Acsa reportedly said that once the new names have been approved by the Minister of Arts and Culture, they will be published in the Government Gazette. There will then be a period of 30 days for any objections to be lodged, and these will be assessed before the final name changes occur.
Proposals and comments reportedly close at the end of business on Wednesday, and anyone wishing to comment can email firstname.lastname@example.org or hand-deliver their proposal to the Acsa office at their nearest airport.
According to Business Insider, after Wednesday's cut off, the Geographical Names Provincial Committee will work through the proposals to ensure that the proposals comply with the Handbook on Geographical Names. This reportedly includes checking that the name is not offensive or that it isn't a duplicate.
The South African Geographical Names Council will reportedly receive the names submitted by the provincial committees, and it will then recommend the name change to the minister of arts and culture.