Eight name changes proposed for KZN

THE South African Geographical Names Council has tabled eight names, including that of KwaZulu-Natal's 2010 international airport inDurban, for the approval of Minister of Arts and Culture Lulu Xingwana.

The council revealed yesterday that it had recommended the name King Shaka International Airport and corrections to KwaZulu-Natal village names that include Ntumeni to eNtumeni, Nyezane to eNyezane, Nyoni to eNyoni and Tugela River to uThukela.

Council spokesperson Mpumi Mbatha said all names had been referred to Xingwana's office.

He said the issue of the airport was very urgent and they expected her to approve it as soon as possible.

"Approval normally takes about three months but the issue of the airport is urgent since no flights can take off and land there if it has no name," he said.

Mbatha said the council referred four other names back to the provincial geographical names committee for further consultations.

He said Makhado in Limpopo was changed from Louis Trichardt, Malibongwe Ridge, Thinasonke and Thintwa Village names in Gauteng have been referred back.

"These names were referred back because there are people who object to the changes," Mbatha said.

"We are expecting the provincial council to meet with the groups of those who submitted and objected."

Last week council chairperson Tommy Ntsewa had indicated that the process of naming the airport was not yet finalised.

He said the airport had to have a name otherwise it would simply be known as airport X.

The name of the R7billion airport was submitted by the KwaZulu-Natal government after hearings last year.

The airport is set to begin operating on May 1 when the first plane is expected to take off.

Xingwana's office was unavailable for comment.

But Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele's spokesperson, Logan Maistry, said there had been regular liaisons between ministries.