Tattered flags no welcome to the Friendly City

NO GLORY: Flags in tatters outside the Port Elizabeth Airport - Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN
NO GLORY: Flags in tatters outside the Port Elizabeth Airport – Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

Another 2010 Fifa World Cup legacy project in Port Elizabeth hangs in tatters: literally.

The iconic flags hoisted outside the Port Elizabeth International Airport are threadbare – and some have disappeared altogether.

The flag saga is the most recent in a series of reports highlighting an absence of maintenance or continued delivery of 2010 World Cup legacy projects. Perhaps the most contentious is the Integrated Public Transport Service (IPTS), which is under severe public scrutiny.

Former international airline pilot Tod Burns brought the flags’ plight to public attention last week in a letter to The Herald.

Burns, 52, a former SA Airways pilot who has visited 28 countries, wrote: “The flags . . . have either faded, fallen off or are falling off. This is the first sight that greets visitors to Port Elizabeth when they leave the airport. ‘City fathers, where is your pride?’ Surely someone [is] in charge of keeping this area looking good?”

Speaking from his Summerstrand home, Burns said a Swiss delegation had visited the city recently. The tattered flags would have been among the first things they saw. “This is not good enough.”

In response to his concerns, the Airports Company of SA has offered to sponsor replacements. Airport users have also noticed the flags. Leon du Preez, 58, of Jeffreys Bay, said while waiting at the airport: “We pay massive airport taxes. There should be improvements.”

Rachel Magama, 27, originally from Zimbabwe, said the flags should be repaired or removed altogether. “It gives a bad impression.”

The flags, on ornate windsocks at the roundabouts outside the airport, represented the countries competing in the 2010 soccer event.

Ward 2 councillor Dean Biddulph said he had brought the matter to the attention of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, but without immediate response.

-Caz-lynn Human

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