Durban - Six expensive banners advertising the Diakonia Council of Churches’ Good Friday service, have been stolen from street poles in the Durban CBD and Tollgate bridge.
The R30 000 loss for Diakonia - a non-profit organisation - will be impossible to replace.
Nomabelu Mvambo-Dandala, executive director of the Diakonia Council of Churches, said they believed the stolen banners may have been used for housing material.
“The banners are durable, waterproof fabric. It could also have been taken off for its metal brackets,” Mvambo-Dandala said.
She said the theme of this year’s service was “Things Must Change”.
At the weekend, Diakonia’s 12m x 3m banner was stolen from Tollgate Bridge soon after it had been put up.
Five others from Stalwart Simelane (Stanger) Street were also stolen.
Mvambo-Dandala said the eThekwini Municipality was not responsible for loss or damage to promotional material exhibited using council structures.
Ravi Moodley of Siyaya Promotions had generously replaced the five missing street-pole banners with 15 posters, Mvambo-Dandala said.
The posters did not have metal brackets.
She said because of time constraints and costs, the posters were the best option. “Unfortunately these acts are symbolic of the many crises facing our beloved country. The loss of social values and petty thefts are minor symptoms of the overall sickness afflicting our society,” she said.
“Change is needed. We need to reflect on what role we can personally play to become vital agents of change.”
Diakonia had put up street pole banners along Stalwart Simelane (Stanger) Street, Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road, as well as the Tollgate banner.
Kenny Pillay, chief executive of Custom prints, the contractor who put up the banners said this was the second incident involving theft of banners.
He said they had a similar incident in Sandile Thusi (Argyle) Road at the beginning of this year.
A case of theft has been opened at the Durban Central SAPS.
“I find it strange. The banners are mounted at a certain height more than 3m off the ground. A good climber could have reached it and used a knife to cut the brackets holding it up,” Pillay said.
“On Tollgate Bridge the banner was secured using cable ties. They could have climbed up the vertical support structures and cut it down. This is the first time I have faced this problem on Tollgate Bridge.”
Pillay said it appeared to have been an act of desperation.
“It is an extreme act of crime to steal church property,” he said.