Banner war at Tshwane Automative Special Economic Zone launch

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver a keynote message
Cyril Ramaphosa. President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver a keynote message
Image: Simphiwe NKwali

As the much anticipated Tshwane Automative Special Economic Zone was about to be launched in Silverton, Pretoria, a not-so-hidden battle for space on the stage played itself out on Tuesday morning.

The battle had nothing to do with President Cyril Ramaphosa who was going to deliver the keynote address later on the day but involved officials competing for space to place their banners on stage.

First, the Gauteng province and the department of trade and industry (DTI) were the earliest birds, literally taking centre stage, placing their banners at the centre of the stage before anybody else had arrived. Tshwane was not to be outdone, city officials played catch up and literally pushed DTI's banner to the side placing their banner on the right side of the stage.

Within minutes, a male official seemingly from the department came through, and unilaterally enforced a change which saw the Tshwane banner being moved to the extreme left of the stage.The set up sort of made sense, it was first a banner from a national department, then the provincial government and the metro municipality representing local government.Another official, who surely must be in possession of a higher rank, issued an instruction that literally floored the Tshwane banner. Only DTI and the provincial banners were allowed on stage.

A Tshwane official then went to get two smaller pull up banners which I must say didn't look so clean. The two pull banners from the capital city were used to flank the bigger two banners of DTI and the one from the province. It seemed like a compromise deal.When we thought it was all over, Ford Motors, partners in the Special Economic Zone brought its two smaller banners seemingly throwing the spanner in the works. At first one Ford banner was placed next to the Tshwane pull up banner on the left of the stage but another official was quick to remove it and placed it next to the stage.

Well despite losing the banner battle, Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa was afforded the honour to welcome the guests while Neale Hill, the Ford CEO delivered a message from the company.

Premier David Makhura was scheduled to deliver a message before minister Ebrahim Patel introduces Ramaphosa. The banner war may have taken more than half an hour, it was a funny episode to watch.

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