Cape Town mayor’s anti-drug campaign posters vandalised

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Cape Town’s mayor Patricia de Lille has her fair share of detractors who have regularly had stabs at her – and they are at it again.

Posters on bus stops bearing De Lille’s face have been vandalised with the words “this city works for a few” stenciled in bold letters. This is a play on the city’s slogan, “this city works for you”.

This vandalised poster of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille at a bus stop in Salt River depicts certain views that the city's leaders do not care about the poor. Picture by Yazeed Kamaldien

This vandalised poster of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille at a bus stop in Salt River depicts certain views that the city’s leaders do not care about the poor. Picture by Yazeed Kamaldien

And while De Lille seemingly remains widely popular with Cape Town residents, her detractors have blamed her for not caring enough.

Under her leadership, the city government has been embroiled in a series of headlining evictions and sanitation woes in townships. She has also been called out as an authoritarian with a dictatorial leadership style.

An online poster has also been created and posted on a fake City of Cape Town page on Facebook.

This poster bears the same picture of De Lille’s anti-drug campaign. Her eyes have been reddened and blood drips down the side of her mouth.

It is headlined: “My name is Patricia de Lille and I’m addicted to sucking the life blood of the poor”.

This image of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has been posted on a fake page for the City of Cape Town. Picture by Yazeed Kamaldien

This image of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has been posted on a fake page for the City of Cape Town. Picture by Yazeed Kamaldien

The poster’s original slogan reads: “My name is Patricia de Lille and I have a drug problem. I don’t use them, but they still affect me”.

De Lille’s spokeswoman Zara Nicholson told Weekend Argus the anti-drug campaign, featuring De Lille and others on its posters, has been “overwhelmingly successful”.

“The City of Cape Town’s ‘I have a drug problem’ has led to a marked increase in requests for assistance since its launch in March this year. The campaign was focused on encouraging people to access the city’s 24-hour helpline to seek advice on treatment and counselling options available,” she said.

“The campaign led to a massive increase in such calls. There was also a 34% increase in the number of people treated at the city’s matrix facilities.

“The campaign reached 4,8 million people through traditional media channels and an additional 2 million through social media.”

Nicholson said it was “unfortunate that there have been a few isolated incidents of vandalism by misguided and wholly destructive individuals”.

“This will however in no way deter the city from continuing to find innovative ways of combatting one of the most important problems confronting Cape Town,” she said.

The rest of the poster series features former Springbok rugby player Chester Williams, KFM radio presenter Ian Bredenkamp, and award-winning dancer and choreographer Mamela Nyamza.

The posters have been positioned near highways and at bus stops on routes passing through areas where drug addiction is rife.

When it launched, the campaign was called the “most extensive of its kind in the city’s history”.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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