The DA-led City of Cape Town has come under fire for the removal of a Palestinian flag mural in Lavender Hill, while many said gang related graffiti had persisted across the Cape Flats, unabated for years.
In the latest incident, a video went viral on social media, of City officials painting over a Palestinian flag at a block of flats in Lavender Hill on Tuesday. This while the rest of the block showed visible signs of old peeling paint.
Approached for comment the City said in response to a complaint it had sent its graffiti unit.
Mayoral committee member for Safety and Security, JP Smith said: “In terms of this specific incident, a complaint was received and the Graffiti Unit was activated. Community members responsible for the mural have agreed to apply for permission to have the mural reinstalled following an engagement with Graffiti Unit officials.”
The City added that its graffiti unit had removed 24 076 square metres of graffiti in the first nine months of 2023.
Smith did not respond to further questions around when the flat had last been painted, and why the entire block was not painted.
Award-winning South African rapper YoungstaCpt shared his frustration about the incident, on social media platform X formerly Twitter, saying: “The Na**ers never ever painted a gang sign or even a house for that matter...”
Meanwhile the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and African Artists Against Apartheid (AAAA) said they condemned the City of Cape Town’s removal of Palestinian flag murals in communities which had experienced the brunt of South Africa’s legacy of apartheid and forced removals.
“These communities have shown humanity and compassion through expressing their solidarity with the Palestinian people, in line with the values of our Constitution. Communities across the Cape Flats know all too well the impact of apartheid and forced removals — they live it every day. Gang violence and the symbols of gangsterism have been graffitied on the walls of council buildings across these communities for decades. This graffiti has been left untouched by the DA-led City of Cape Town, yet it was so swift to deploy its so-called Graffiti Unit to paint over a Palestinian mural that symbolises liberation and humanity in Lavender Hill.
“We plan to consult with these communities about how they can restore these Palestinian murals on their homes as they wish and we will campaign against the City’s removal of these acts of solidarity,” the PSC said.
The incident comes on the heels of South Africa’s case of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), set to be heard on Thursday.