The City of Cape Town has vehemently denied suggestions it endorsed a controversial “#ZumaMustFall” banner that went up on the face of a building in Kloof Street on Friday. There have been some accusations that the DA-led City may have had a hand in the banner, particular in providing the approval needed for it to go up.
However the City of Cape Town has firmly denied the claims, stressing that not only was a formal application not received, but the banner also contravened several City by-laws.
Spokesperson, Priya Reddy said because of the banner’s size and because it obstructed the view from several of the building’s windows, it would fall in contravention of both the City’s outdoor advertising by-law and national building regulations.
“There is a very well-known and simplified process one would need to follow to get approval, but this time it wasn’t done. The one thing is they didn’t actually apply, and even if they had we would’ve rejected it by mere fact of the size of the banner,” she noted.
She also pointed out that in most billboard or banner applications, the only aspects the City assessed were logistical.
“The City does not look at content; it is not in our mandate to censor any kind of messaging. What we do look at are very practical considerations like safety and visibility,” she said.
Reports suggest the banner may have been hung by a private organisation, unaffiliated to the official #ZumaMustFall campaign.
Because of the by-law violations, the case has been handed to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The City has stated that while it is aware of those responsible, that information can only be made public once the responsible party’s name appears on a court role.
The City of Cape Town has also taken issue with the manner in which several ANC activists attempted to remove the banner, allegedly trespassing on building premises to take it down.
“This was a matter the South African Police Services (SAPS) were investigation. The last I heard, and again this is outside of the City’s mandate, the owners of the building had chosen not to press charges against these activists,” Reddy added.
The party behind the banner faces a hefty fine or potential jail time for violating City by-laws. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)