Durban - Anger is mounting over the eThekwini Municipality’s new marketing campaign, which opposition councillors complain has taken on the primary colours of the ANC in an election year.
They are up in arms that the municipality has changed its traditional white and blue branding to yellow and green, charging that the city was propping up the ANC election campaign with ratepayers’ money.
“It is shocking that the city has stooped to this low level,” MF councillor, Patrick Pillay, said on Sunday.
“The eThekwini Municipality’s colours have always been blue and that is a fact. The city has no right to change its colour scheme to suit any political party – in this case the ANC,” said Pillay, who is also a member of the eThekwini executive committee. “This is unacceptable. The city should be focusing on service delivery issues and should accede to complaints of potholes and cutting long grass instead of playing politics.”
City spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng, said the campaign had nothing to do with the ANC or the elections, but was part of the city’s “Clean my City” campaign. “A lot of thought went into the campaign and there was a good rationale behind the campaign. It is wrong for them to say it is because of elections.”
The marketing campaign was launched a month ago to show off the city’s achievements and to get people to buy into the plan to rid the inner city of vagrants, filth, and problem buildings.
Posters have been erected with a yellow background, with green and white. One says: “eThekwini has delivered and we have changed lives”, with a picture of President Jacob Zuma, mayor James Nxumalo and Premier Senzo Mchunu cutting a ribbon.
DA eThekwini caucus leader, Zwakele Mncwango, said the new colour scheme had nothing to do with marketing the city but was a political campaign for the ANC.
The DA planned to raise the issue with the city’s management. The timing was questionable as it came just before the elections.
“If you read the campaign and its achievements it is like reading the ANC manifesto. It is clear for anyone to see that this is promoting the ANC. It seems we are losing our very good branding for the sake of narrow political interests.”
Mncwango said the city had sent the executive committee T-shirts and other marketing campaign products, which he described as ANC propaganda.
“If you put on the T-shirt you would think it was an ANC shirt and only when you come very close to it do you see a small eThekwini logo. This is nothing more than a political campaign.”
IFP caucus leader, Mdu Nkosi said the change of the city colours defied logic: “We have had the same city colours for a long time now and they want to change it. It is clear to anyone who sees it that the posters are like ANC posters,” he said. “The municipality should not be promoting any political party. It is absolute nonsense that they would change the colours now when we have always had blue and white as the city’s colours.”