An online quarrel about the renaming of Cape Town International Airport to Winnie Mandela has surfaced, forcing ANC election head Fikile Mbalula to do some fancy footwork to calm some agitated social media users.
It all started with the election head sharing a few of Winnie’s inspiring quotes from during the apartheid struggle. Mbalula, in an attempt to set the record straight, tweeted that the party had never said the Cape Airport should not be named after Winnie.
The Anc for the record never said the airport shouldn't be named after ma'm Winnie.
— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) April 2, 2019
In response to Mbalula, social media user @MalixolePopo suggested Mbalula, alongside the ANC, should never have voted against the proposed name change, instead of “defend[ing] the indefensible”.
“You should have supported the motion qha and instead of coming here to defend the indefensible… You guys are a complete JOKE.”
He was referring to the National Assembly’s vote against the proposed name change last month where parties voted against the name change.
Mbalula defended ANC MP Dikeledi Magadzi, who during parliament detailed why the proposed name change was not accepted.
Mbalula said footage of the MP showed that Magadzi did not say Mandela’s name was not “tried and tested”. He urged social media users to watch the video in its entirety.
Trending ANC MP speech was over 9 minutes not 24 seconds viral video.
a) she explained the kind of people Airports should be named after.
b) Explained Parliament has no jurisdiction on Airports name changes.
c) Listed the names considered ( amongst them is Mme Winnie) pic.twitter.com/RYBhYUAnNb
— | (@EsethuHasane_) March 6, 2019
His efforts were met by even more resistance, with Twitter user Raymond Segodi stating he had watched the video five times, and the party did say Winnie’s name was not “tried and tested”.
“That is what she said, no running away from that one. ANC in parliament said the only person who openly proclaimed to be ANC during the burning of political parties was not tried and tested. Personally, no one paid the biggest price than mama Winnie. I watched that clip five times,” he tweeted.
EFF leader Julius Malema was quick to also get Mbalula’s attention as he quickly tagged him with the video.
Mama they rejected the motion to name Capetown airport after you sighting you are not "tried and tested", only sellouts can say that about you mama we are watching them #sellouts pic.twitter.com/VeJA0bxYza
— EFFJoziGroundForces (@Effgroundforces) April 2, 2019
The EFF lost their bid to have the Cape Town International Airport renamed to Mandela at the National Assembly last month, where the ANC, along with some opposition MPs rejected the EFF sponsored motion to have the Cape Airports name changed.
The ANC’s chief whip Jackson Mthembu argued that the motion tabled by the EFF leader was misplaced as parliament had no legislative authority on name changes.
Malema had argued that renaming the airport would signify recognition of the role Winnie Mandela played in the fight against apartheid.