Cape Town - The City of Cape Town approved the controversial new logo and corporate identity on Wednesday, despite strong resistance and warnings from the opposition that it would blow up in the city’s face.
The ANC has indicated it will now ask its leadership to apply for a high court interdict to stop the logo from being introduced.
But mayor Patricia de Lille was undaunted. “Good luck, we will see you in court,” she said.
“I respect the right of the ANC to go to court. But this is what council has mandated us to do.”
She said the new branding would “save millions of rands for the ratepayers of this city”, adding that the cost of implementing it would have no impact on service delivery.
But the opposition parties were not convinced. Andre Fourie of the Freedom Front Plus wanted to know why councillors, as elected representatives, were not included in the process.
Achmat Williams of the National Party South Africa said the cost of R313 000 for the design of the logo was misleading because the actual implementation would have “massive cost implications”.
He also called for an investigation of the tender awarded to the King James and Yellowwood Future Architects for the branding strategy.
Questions were raised about Carol Avenant, now director of strategic communication and branding for the city, and her prior involvement in communication at the Western Cape government. She also used to work for Yellowwood.
Anwar Adams of the PAC asked: “Why now? Every month we hear about the city’s accolades so why change a winning brand? Is it about because companies will benefit?”
Yagyah Adams of the Cape Muslim Congress cautioned that the costs related to the logo, like the Cape Town Stadium, would escalate.
Ferlon Christians of the ACDP said councillors were being asked to rubber-stamp a logo that had already been approved by the DA and would be pushed through council.
“What is the DA getting out of this?”
The ANC’s Charlotte Heyns said that public participation on the city’s integrated development plan could not be considered as support for a new logo. “Nowhere in the IDP process were the public asked questions about a new corporate identity.”
De Lille shrugged off concerns about elected officials not being involved. She said the council had approved a recommendation to realign the city’s marketing and branding in 2012. The position of a director of strategic branding and communication was also dealt with in the council.
“The post was created and the job description mandated the incumbent to ensure the enhancement of the city’s branding. The logo is the culmination of this process.”
She said the new logo was necessary to communicate the city’s shift from passive delivery to shared responsibility.
De Lille said the city spent millions on communication as departments had carte blanch to do their own communication. “This costly approach will be stopped in the interest of value for money and maximum effect.”
Mayoral committee member for finance Ian Neilson said the city spent about R15 million on communication, and the new identity would make this more cost-effective. Despite the public outcry, independent polls showed significant support for the new logo.
Neilson said the branding tender was awarded in an open process with no appeals from the losing bidders.
De Lille said that while she knew who had leaked a version of the logo to the Cape Argus last week, she was not prepared to comment on speculation.