Cape Town – The City has taken issue with the owner of a signage company for putting up a poster with the words “Stay Home” on a billboard at the bottom of Kloof Street, saying he had contravened a by-law.
According to the City, Brent Dyssell, the managing director of Independent Outdoor Media who is responsible for the poster and an additional 25 posters across the city, put them up knowing it was unlawful to do so. But Dyssell said the posters were his way of helping to make the public aware of precautions that should be taken during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The City has chosen to take issue with this, and it should be condemned. No one else has been doing this. I have put up posters all over in high-risk areas (where there are) horrific living conditions. It feels to me that something else is going on, and they have threatened to take me to court,” he said.
Dyssell said the City had told him to take down the posters last week.
“The City wrote me a letter saying we need permission to put up the posters, and I disagree. This is my constitution-enshrined right. It surprises me that they want to make a big deal about this.
“There’s been a lot of communication with the City during this time. I am in the communications business, and I have the ability to get the message across,” he said.
It’s not the first time Dyssell’s work has been in the spotlight. In 2016 he erected a massive banner bearing the words “Zuma Must Fall” in the CBD.
The banner was put up after former president Jacob Zuma fired former Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, which led to the rand plummeting.
Zuma’s supporters and members of the ANC demanded that the banner be taken down. At the time, the City had slammed the company, labelling the poster illegal.
“I’m sick of it and it’s not fair. I’m trying to do a good thing… It’s about saving lives on a signage structure that was approved by the City,” Dyssell said.
Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said posting outdoor signage without the City’s permission contravened the outdoor advertising and signage by-law.
“Compliance notices have been issued to various parties in terms of the by-law, including Mr Dyssell… on April 9,” Nieuwoudt said.
“This behaviour puts the City in a very difficult situation. We appreciate and welcome the efforts from local business owners and residents to limit the spread of Covid-19. Still, whatever we do must be within the confines of the law.”
By Marvin Charles