News24

New KZN airport named

2010-01-14 22:12

Durban - The new airport in La Mercy near Durban will be known as King Shaka International Airport, the Geographical Names Council said on Thursday.

"The council is satisfied with the process that has been followed. We have approved the name and the only thing left is for the minister of arts and culture to approve it," the council's Mpume Mbatha said in Durban.

The KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development proposed the name. Spokesperson Bheko Madlala said the department had always maintained the airport should be named after the Zulu king.

"We will now wait for the minister to approve the name."

'X Airport'

The airport had to have a name as it would open on May 2, the council's chairperson advocate Tommy Ntsewa said. Speaking before the council's first quarterly meeting, he joked that if a name was not found, it would be known as X Airport.

The Durban International Airport would be decommissioned after the Soccer World Cup which would take place in less than 200 days. Durban International Airport would be part of contingency plans to handle the influx of visitors during the tournament.

The controversial changing of the name of the northern Limpopo town of Louis Trichardt to Makhado was also back on the table, Ntsewa said.

Mbatha said: "We discussed the matter and it was decided that the council still needs to have a meeting with three groups, the applicant and two other groups before a decision can be taken."

Louis Trichardt was changed to Makhado in 2002 but changed back to Louis Trichardt in 2005 after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled there had been no proper consultation. The court ruling forced the Limpopo provincial government back to the drawing board.

"Today we have new submissions. We will check if consultation was done," Ntsewa said.

Pretoria, Tshwane issue

After scrutinising the new submissions, the council would prepare its submissions and forward them to Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana, he said.

"We are correcting what the court raised."

The council was also waiting for Xingwana to make a pronouncement on changing Pretoria to Tshwane.

"The council had a meeting in Bloemfontein in 2005 and made a recommendation to the minister to approve the Tshwane name. We are expecting the new minister to make the pronouncement," Ntsewa said.

The council was trying to correct names misspelt or changed during 350 years of colonial and apartheid administration. The names of 19 rivers and areas around Durban were also expected to be corrected.

The city recently approved recommendations by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Geographic Names Committee to correct the spelling of some rivers and settlements in the eThekwini municipal area.

Inanda would be changed to eNanda, uMgeni River to uMngeni, Amanzimtoti to eManzamtoti, Umhlanga to uMhlanga Rocks, Umlazi to eMlaza, Umhlali to eMhlali and Tongaat to oThongathi.