PUBLIC hearings for the proposed name change of Port Elizabeth and the Port Elizabeth International Airport are currently ongoing as debates among residents continue in the metro.This after a decision had been announced by the Eastern Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee (ECPGNC) to change the names. The first public meeting was held in Motherwell on November 13, with only a handful of residents present, as heated arguments arose over possible names. According to Zukile Jodwana, deputy- chairperson of the ECPGNC, public hearings are important to include residents who will have their say and make possible recommendations. However, the public also came up with different names from those which were initially proposed.“The names the public come up with have to be taken into consideration, even if they do not form part of the proposed names. That will only be one aspect of the renaming of PE and PE airport,” Jodwana said.To make a decision regarding any name change in South Africa, the South African Geographical Names Council takes a closer look at the history of the proposed name.Jodwana further explained, “Once we do decide on a name, we have to consult with the family of the icon. If the family is not happy about it, we have to withdraw that name and come up with something different. All these processes need to be followed accordingly.”The proposed name changes for Port Elizabeth includes Gqebera, I-Bhayi and Nelson Mandela City.The proposed names for Port Elizabeth International Airport are Nelson Mandela Bay Airport, Nelson Mandela Airport, Raymond Mhlaba Airport, Sipho Hashe International Airport, David Stuurman International Airport and The Khoi-San International Airport.After the completion of the public hearings, a report of all processes and outcomes are compiled and reviewed.According to Jodwana, the public plays a further role in agreeing with or objecting to a proposed name within a period of 21 days.“The South African Geographical Names Council will take the process further as they are responsible for finalising the renaming of a city or airport. However, the public will be informed regarding the name change,” Jodwana added.The next public hearings will be held today, November 21, at the Chatty Community Hall at 18:00 and tomorrow, November 22, at Nangoza Jebe Hall at 18:00. The ECPGNC hopes to finalise the process by June 2019.