Tempers flared during the public participation meeting held at Cape Town International Airport on Monday evening. The meeting was held to allow the public an opportunity to voice their opinion on the proposed name change of the internationally recognised airport.

The renaming effort was proposed by the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) and forms part of the Transformation of Heritage Landscape Government Program.

Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) arrived at the meeting in their trademark red regalia, and suggested that the airport be named after the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Members of the Khoi community were in favour of the name Krotoa, after the historic Khoi figure.

The meeting dissolved into chaos after a member of the controversial Gatvol Capetonians organisation said that Winnie Mandela was “never part of this country”.

EFF members then began chanting and took over the meeting. “We will not allow anyone to divide us. We are all here because of Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela,” shouted one EFF member, gaining loud applause.

The provincial chairperson of the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa, David Kamfer, said the Khoi community must stand up to tell people that the land belongs to them. “We are sick and tired of the Mandelas. We are here to tell people to stand up and say this land belongs to us! We want to take it and change it to Krotoa International Airport,” he said.

An independent facilitator had to take charge to regain control of the meeting, but it has to be called off due to continued interruptions.

The names of struggle stalwarts Winnie Madikezela-Mandela, Robert Sobukwe and Albertina Sisulu are the frontrunners in the renaming. This is based on social media reactions.

ACSA corporate affairs manager, Deirdre Davids, said it was premature to signal trends and conclusions until the public participation process concludes on 6 June.

Once the public participation process concludes, a report of conclusions and recommendations will be compiled.

Picture: Twitter

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Lucinda is a lifestyle writer with a hard news edge, and recent journalism graduate. She enjoys reading travel blogs and loves animals.