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NC govt endorses new name for airport

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Dpt and Acsa will implement new names of four airports in the country as “soon as possible” following public comment.

PROPOSALS: The Kimberley Airport could soon be renamed the Ulysses Gogi Modise Airport. This comes after the Northern Cape provincial government yesterday announced its support for the airport to be renamed after Struggle hero Modise. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE KIMBERLEY Airport could soon be renamed the Ulysses Gogi Modise Airport.

While residents have until today to submit proposals for the Kimberley Airport name change, the Northern Cape provincial government yesterday announced its support for the airport to be renamed after Struggle hero Modise.

The Department of Transport and Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) will implement new names of four airports in the country as “soon as possible” following public comment.

Cape Town International Airport, East London Airport, Port Elizabeth International Airport and Kimberley Airport would be renamed as part of the government’s Transformation of Heritage Landscape programme.

The public has until today to comment.

“The minister of Arts and Culture is responsible for the approval of geographical names after receiving recommendations from the SA Geographical Names Council,” Acsa said in a statement.

“The council is responsible for geographical features of national concern including towns, cities, suburbs and any form of human settlement, post offices, stations, highways, airports and government dams.”

An application will then be made to the relevant Geographical Names Provincial Committee for processing.

These committees will verify that the applications comply with the guidelines in the national Handbook on Geographical Names.

“Once the names have been approved by the minister they will then be published in the government gazette.

“A period of 30 days is required for any objections to be submitted in response to the government gazette.

“Should any objections be received, the minister of Arts and Culture will assess them before a final decision is published in the government gazette.”

Spokesperson for the provincial Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Conrad Fortune, said yesterday that the Northern Cape provincial administration and the members of the executive council, led by Premier Sylvia Lucas, endorsed the renaming of the Kimberley Airport to the Ulysses Gogi Modise Airport.

“The name of Ulysses Modise was nominated and comprehensive discussions took place around renaming the Kimberley Airport after a pioneer who was born and raised in Kimberley and who tirelessly and relentlessly fought for the emancipation of the citizens of Kimberley and South Africa. As a Province we are encouraging the citizens of the Northern Cape to endorse the name of Ulysses Gogi Modise and support the provincial administration to rename the airport to Ulysses Gogi Modise,” Fortune said.

He added that Modise was born Julius Gogi Kgabegenyane on December 23, 1942 to Johannes and Miriam Saitsiwi Daniels Kgabegenyane in Kimberley.

He joined the ANC and was one of the first youths from Kimberley to join the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). He underwent military training in Lusaka, Zambia and became part of the Luthuli Detachment in 1967.

“Reporting to the late OR Tambo, Modise went on to systematically perform, engage and lead covert intelligence and counter-intelligence operations exposing spy rings within the movement. Modise served in the ANC both during the tough times of exile and back home in the democratic ANC-led government,” Fortune pointed out.

Between 1976 and 1980 he served as a member of the Department of National Intelligence and Security Directorate and then in the Department of Intelligence and Security.

After the 1994 elections, Modise was appointed Intelligence Head in the Northern Cape and was promoted to the position of Co-ordinator of Intelligence for the Northern Cape in September 1998.

He was a member of the Eminent Persons Group and was responsible for the formalisation and welfare of the MK Military Veterans in the Northern Cape.

“Modise collated information on the Struggle veterans and former MK combatants, including those who worked in the underground operations of the ANC in the Northern Cape. He endeavoured to create sustainable economic empowerment ventures for the stalwarts and veterans of the struggle,” Fortune stated.

Modise died on May 30, 2007 and was posthumously awarded the Order of Mendi for Bravery by president Jacob Zuma on April 28, 2016.

Fortune pointed out further that the Northern Cape continued to “suffer from historically-induced social and linguistic inequalities where we are still commemorating street names and symbols of people who founded colonialism and apartheid”.

“As a Province we are expediting the process of renaming as a matter of urgency. But is also a process that we will be expediting within the legal framework of geographical name changes.

“We must realise that name changes are important for us as South Africans to reclaim our heritage and cultural identity, as well as to honour our heroes and heroines who fought for the liberation of this country.

“As South Africans we must be reminded that geographical name changes are a form of symbolic compensation for human rights abuse. In a fractured society changing names can also be considered as a mechanism of transitional justice.

“As a form of symbolic reparation street names can assist in restoring dignity and public recognition to victims.”

While the names of Griqua leader Adam Kok and Khomani San leader Dawid Kruiper have also been mentioned as proposals for the name change, Acsa spokesperson Hulisani Rasivhaga said yesterday that the proposed names received would only be made public once collected, audited and reviewed.