Port Elizabeth is now Gqeberha – and other name changes for towns and airports in South Africa

Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthetwa has announced a number of name changes for towns, cities and airports in the Eastern Cape.

The changes were published in a government gazette on Tuesday (23 February). The gazette also includes a number of spelling corrections for existing geographical names as well as official registrations of new names.

All of the changes are being made in the Eastern Cape province. The most notable change is for Port Elizabeth, which is now known as Gqeberha.

The Port Elizabeth International Airport has also had its name changed to the Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport.

Other notable changes are outlined in more detail below.

Old name New name Area Feature
Port Elizabeth International Airport Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport Nelson Mandela Bay International airport
Port Elizabeth Gqeberha Nelson Mandela Bay City
Uitenhage Kariega Nelson Mandela Bay City
East London Airport King Phalo Airport Buffalo City Airport
Berlin Ntabozuko Buffalo City Town
MaClear Town Nqanqarhu Buffalo City Town
King William’s Town Qonce Buffalo City Town

Name changes have come under increased scrutiny in recent years because of the associated costs, placing further pressure on the country’s already strained fiscus.

The opposition Democratic Alliance said that it would oppose the ‘frivolous’ name changes in the Buffalo City Metropolitan.

“Renaming these Buffalo City Metro towns and the airport will not increase tourism, boost investment, improve service delivery, create employment or eradicate the problems residents face on a daily basis,” said the DA’s Chantel King.

“Instead of spending millions on new signage, the money should be used to improve the lives of the people of the Buffalo City Metro.”


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Port Elizabeth is now Gqeberha – and other name changes for towns and airports in South Africa