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ACSA says airport renaming meeting went ahead despite disruptions

Jun 5, 2018
ACSA says airport renaming meeting went ahead despite disruptions

The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) says the public consultation session on airport renaming held at Cape Town International Airport on Monday evening was ultimately properly concluded in spite of demonstrations that disrupted proceedings for a period.

Cape Town International Airport, East London Airport, Port Elizabeth International Airport and Kimberly Airport are subject to the renaming process.

"Submissions on new names for the airport are still open until midnight on 6 June 2018 for any member of the public to motivate their choice. Those who did not manage to be heard at the public consultation can therefore still have a say," ACSA said in a statement.

"Proposals made by e-mail and through other channels will carry equal weight to those made at public meetings. Decisions on a new airport name will not be influenced by threats or based on who shouted the loudest.

"Views expressed at consultation meetings do not constitute a binding vote on the name to be selected."

ACSA said that the public consultation meeting held at Cape Town International Airport on Monday evening was attended by about 800 people, who made a variety of 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 of 1998) and government’s Handbook on Geographic Names. The intention of the meeting was to give the public an opportunity to respectfully present their name choices," it described.

"That agreement was made by the external facilitator with the attendees at the outset of the meeting.

"There were many in attendance who had come to make their representations peacefully and cooperatively."

ACSA, however, said that there were others, who appeared to have come with the specific intention to disrupt the meeting.

"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," the company said.

"The decision to close the meeting until the disruptors again agreed to conduct themselves respectfully was necessary because such a consultation cannot continue when its integrity has been undermined.

"The meeting was then reconvened and continued until the allocated time of 8pm with many casting votes for their favourite name both verbally and by ballot."

It said that 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. Proposals can be submitted by e-mail to Corporate.Affairs@airports.co.za or hand-delivered to the Airports Company South Africa office at the nearest airport."