A press release from Councillor Owen Kinahan:
The Protea sub-council has allocated a generous portion of the annual ward allocation each year over the last three years to support the Graffiti Removal Project managed by U-Turn which has also used it as a street people rehabilitation and job creation outlet.
Funds are available for the balance of this financial year to tackle graffiti in Council precincts and buildings such as parks, sub-stations, civic buildings, subways, etc. Residents are invited to send in information about blighted sites in suburbs stretching from Mowbray in the north to Bergvliet in the south, bounded by the M5 and to the ridge of the mountain (with the exception of Mowbray above the railway line). These are the suburbs that fall within the Protea sub-Council which has allocated the funding.
Residents are also reminded that Council has now promulgated its Graffiti by-law which makes it the responsibility of the owner of the property to remove graffiti. Although some feel that this is a harsh burden on homeowners, the provision was designed to deal with large property owners such as the State and Metrorail which generally have a poor track record of keeping their buildings graffiti-free.
Protea chairperson Alderman Owen Kinahan says: “ The only way to tackle the opportunistic vandalism of graffiti and tagging is to blot it out as soon as it is spotted. It does not have to be a perfect paint job, merely a cancellation. These vandals get a real fix out of seeing their handiwork in public spaces. The sooner it is obliterated, the sooner they get they get the message that the community has no desire to look like a slum or a ghetto. It is entirely in the hands of the community. A scruffy down-at-heel precinct sends out a very strong message that its community actually doesn’t care and three is a direct correlation to anti-social behaviour and crime.” The new by-law encourages property owners to prosecute those who damage their property.
“It is a myth that tagging in the Southern Suburbs is the work of skollies. Unfortunately bored teenagers (sometimes as old as 30!) often from our best schools and with plenty of access to funds, are very often the perpetrators of this mindless activity. Lest the ‘artistic expression’ lobby starts tub-thumping, there is a provision in the by-law that accommodates them and indeed encourages genuine, highly skilled mural work. All it takes is for a community to identify spaces that they agree would be available for public art and then anyone may put in a submission to express themselves. The site is valid for a year and then has to be restored for someone else to use. It’s a classic win-win.”
Submissions should be sent to Esmeralda.Abrahams@capetown.gov.za or faxed to 0865760693. Please give exact location as well as your own contact details.