Cape Town - Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has her fair share of detractors who have regularly taken digs at her - and they are at it again.
Posters bearing De Lille’s face at bus stops have been vandalised with the words “this city works for a few” stencilled on them in a play on the city’s former slogan, “this city works for you”.
And while De Lille remains popular with many Capetonians, her angry detractors have accused her of being uncaring.
Under her leadership, the city has been embroiled in a series of controversial evictions, as well as having sanitation woes in some townships. She has also been branded by critics as an authoritarian with a dictatorial leadership style.
A poster with an image of De Lille, her eyes reddened and blood dripping down the sides of her mouth, is headlined: “My name is Patricia de Lille and I’m addicted to sucking the lifeblood of the poor.”
This poster has been posted on a fake City of Cape Town Facebook page.
The original version of this poster is part of the city’s anti-drugs campaign, which reads: “My name is Patricia de Lille, and I have a drug problem. I don’t use them, but they still affect me.”
De Lille’s spokeswoman, Zara Nicholson, told Weekend Argus the campaign, featuring De Lille and other well-known Capetonians, had been “overwhelmingly successful”.
“The City of Cape Town’s ‘I have a drug problem’ campaign has led to a marked increase in requests for assistance since its launch in March this year.
“The campaign was focused on encouraging people to access the city’s 24-hour helpline to seek advice on treatment and counselling options available,” she said.
“The campaign led to a massive increase in such calls. There was also a 34 percent increase in the number of people treated at city facilities.
“The campaign reached 4.8 million people through traditional media channels, and an additional 2 million through social media.”
Nicholson said it was “unfortunate that there have been a few isolated incidents of vandalism by misguided and wholly destructive individuals”. “This will, however, in no way deter the city from continuing to find innovative ways of combating one of the most important problems confronting Cape Town.”
The rest of the poster series features former Springbok rugby player Chester Williams, KFM radio presenter Ian Bredenkamp and award-winning dancer and choreographer Mamela Nyamza.
The posters have been positioned near highways and at bus stops on routes passing through areas where drug addiction is rife.
When it was launched, the campaign was described as “the most extensive of its kind in the city’s history”.