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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Woman drops 'Nazi' number plates
Shanaaz Ismail  (Photo: Brenton Geach)
Shanaaz "Nazi" Ismail with the offending number plate
A South African woman has upset Jewish people with her car's personalised number plates - "Nazi - WP".

Shanaaz Ismail, 35, agreed to change the plates after the Western Cape transport department received a request from the SA Jewish Board of Deputies.

She has accepted the department's offer to pay for replacement plates, the Cape Argus newspaper reported.

"My mother abbreviated Shanaaz to Nazi when I was a year old, and it's been my nickname ever since," Ms Ismail said.

The head of the Cape Council of the Jewish Board of Deputies said she had received many complaints about the number plates - some from survivors of the Holocaust.

"I... want to pay tribute to Shanaaz Ismail for agreeing so readily, and for understanding the sensitivities of the Jewish community," Suzanne Belling said.


Ms Ismail decided to display her nickname when a car dealership offered her a set of personalised plates as an extra for the new car she bought in February.

She did not realise the name could cause offence - until a transport department official phoned last week to voice the objections.

"I have a very great regard for the law, and I like abiding by the rules," Ms Ismail told the Cape Argus.

"Of course I agreed to change the number plates - even though I still think it is very unfair," she added.

A local transport official said her plates had "slipped through" their robust vetting process.

He estimated that the cost to the department of changing the plates would be about R150 ($22.50).

It was "not a high price to pay for public peace", he said.

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