The African National Congress (ANC) – alongside some opposing MPs- turned down a motion sponsored by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) calling for the renaming of the Cape Town international airport after the anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The ANC MPs, guided by chief whip Jackson Mthembu, stated that the motion on the renaming of the Cape Town airport, tabled by EFF leader Julius Malema, was lost as parliament had no legal power on changing names.
The motion was also denied by other political parties, such as the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+). It was supported by other political parties such as the United Democratic Movement (UDM).
Julius Malema argued that renaming the Cape Town airport after “Mama Winnie” Mandela would be an important recognition of the role played by females in the struggle against apartheid.
“Let’s rename Cape Town International Airport after Mama Winnie Mandela…This is not to repay her, but to inspire ourselves into accepting the already demonstrated truth that women have led and liberated us as true, gallant fighters and warriors in the struggle,” said Malema.
ANC MP, Xoliswa Tom, said Malema’s motion evaded the public consultation procedure that was being tackled by the Airports Company of South Africa.
“Parliament is not constitutionally empowered to resolve on any name change, nor is within its ambit to process the renaming of any institution or structure within the republic,” said Tom, she also added that this is the task of the South African Geographical Names Council.
Malema debated that the ANC had totally missed the point of his motion, saying he was not calling for an instant name change but rather for the parliament to put importance behind the name Mandikizela Mandela.
The debate also included some drama.
Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli ordered EFF MP Primsrose Sonti to leave the chamber for repeatedly taunting Dikeledi Magadzi.
Floyd Shivambu stated the Tsenoli dealt unfairly with his colleague, Sonti, and said he “should be removed like a dog” from his deputy speaker position.
Shivambu later withdrew the statement, but then Malema entered the verbal fight, telling Tsenoli that they were “not scared” of him.
Malema said they were complying with the rules because they wanted voting to go ahead.
by Alexandra Ramaite