Thursday, January 11, 2024

Apply for permit to paint murals and art, says CoCT, after receiving backlash for a mural of a Palestinian flag in Lavender Hill

The City of Cape Town has received backlash over its decision to paint over a mural of a Palestinian flag that was put up in the area of Lavender Hill.

Residents in the area took to social media on Tuesday, posting videos of City employees, attached to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), covering the mural under the watchful eye of several law enforcement officers.


Many on social media criticised the municipality for responding quickly to removing a mural, but are not hasty to respond to gang violence and other crime-related matters.

Responding to social media posts, the City of Cape Town said community members responsible for the mural have agreed to apply for permission to have the mural reinstalled on the public building, following an engagement with Graffiti Unit officials.

‘’The City of Cape Town encourages the public to use the available permit processes for public art and murals. The City has enabling laws for freedom of expression by way of mural or art installation. The issue of public art and murals has been in the spotlight recently, amid the installation of various murals. There have been instances where Law Enforcement has been unfairly criticised and the City's regulations around public art misrepresented,’’ said JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety & Security.

Smith said there are 31 murals across the metro that has been approved since May 2023. According to the MMC, where murals have been found to be unsanctioned, engagement with community members have taken place to explain the processes and guide them on how to regularise these installations.

‘’The City is duty-bound to respond to complaints from the public about potential by-law transgressions... It is important to note that, even where the installation is on private property, an application is still required.’’

Smith said the Graffiiti unit focuses mainly on City-owned buildings, as, in terms of the by-law, private property owners are responsible for clearing graffiti on their property.

‘’The City removes graffiti daily when there is no permission granted by the owner of the asset on public property (such as roads, housing, etc.) and when no permission has been issued by Arts & Culture.

‘’ The City of Cape Town's regulations enable freedom of expression where people wish to paint a mural to show their support for a cause. The permitting process further ensures the sustainable management of public buildings and places for all,’’ added JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety & Security.

Smith encouraged anyone who wishes to erect a mural or any form of graffiti, to apply for permission from the City's Department of Arts and Culture, as outlined in the Graffiti by-law:


Done By: Mitchum George

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