By Samkelo Mtshali
Durban – One of South Africa’s popular cities, Port Elizabeth, will no longer be referred to as that after the government renamed the city of close to a million inhabitants Gqeberha in a series of name changes of towns and airports.
Affectionately known as “The Windy City”, Port Elizabeth, which had also previously been called Nelson Mandela Bay, will now carry the name of Gqeberha following an approval and gazetting of the name by the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, on Tuesday afternoon.
The city is also known in IsiXhosa as “Ibhayi”, however the government opted for the name Gqeberha while the city’s airport, which was called Port Elizabeth Airport, will now be referred to as the Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport.
The Eastern Cape town of Uitenhage has also undergone a name change and will now be called Kariega.
Name changes will also take place in the Buffalo City Metro Municipality with East London Airport to be called King Phalo Airport with the town of Berlin now to be referred to as Ntabozuko. MaClear Town will now be called Nqanqarhu and King William’s Town will be called Qonce.
In September, the DA opposed the proposal of name changes to towns in Buffalo City saying this would not improve the lives of province’s citizens after the provincial government’s then proposal to change the names of East London to KuGompo, King William’s Town to Qonce, Berlin to Ntabozuko and Eastern London Airport to King Phalo.
The DA’s argument was that renaming the Buffalo City Metro towns and the airport would not increase tourism, boost investment, improve service delivery, create employment nor would it eradicate the problems faced by residents on a daily basis.
“Instead of spending millions on new signage, the money should be used to improve the lives of the people of the Buffalo City Metro,” the DA said at the time.