Buya Mthetho takes on il­le­gal ad­ver­tis­ers

Some com­pa­nies are il­le­gally con­nect­ing to the City`s elec­tric­ity to en­er­gise their signs.

Inner City Gazette - - Front Page - By Staff Reporter news@in­

The City of Jo­han­nes­burg has come un­der siege by mem­bers of the out­door ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try who con­tinue to il­le­gally erect ad­ver­tis­ing boards and signs across the City while de­lib­er­ately dis­re­gard­ing the ap­pli­ca­ble by-laws.

“Over the years, this prob­lem has only wors­ened and out­door ad­ver­tis­ing com­pa­nies con­tinue to act as if they are un­touch­able. I am sure res­i­dents re­mem­ber the count­less bill­boards across Jo­han­nes­burg with im­ages of the former Mayor of Jo­han­nes­burg in des­per­ate at­tempts to de­pict a “World Class African City”. One can only as­sume this abuse of pub­lic re­sources for self-grat­i­fi­ca­tion contributed to this es­ca­lat­ing prob­lem.

“The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the City`s op­er­a­tion to re­store the rule of law in Jo­han­nes­burg, Buya Mthetho, will now be ex­tended to il­le­gal out­door ad­ver­tis­ing in order to en­sure that me­dia own­ers act re­spon­si­bly and the com­pa­nies book­ing space on any ad­ver­tis­ing signs do so by first en­sur­ing that the sign on which an ad­ver­tise­ment is booked has been ap­proved by the City.

“The out­door ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try in Jo­han­nes­burg is reg­u­lated in terms of the Out­door Ad­ver­tis­ing By-Law (2009). Sec­tion 3(1) of the By-Law states that no per­son may erect any ad­ver­tis­ing sign or use or con­tinue to use any ad­ver­tis­ing sign or any struc­ture or de­vice as an ad­ver­tis­ing sign with­out the prior writ­ten ap­proval of the Coun­cil.

The fla­grant dis­re­gard for this law is not only re­sult­ing in an eye­sore around Jo­han­nes­burg, but is also plac­ing the lives of res­i­dents and mo­torists at risk.

“There are many fac­tors con­tribut­ing to the ur­gent need for the City to ad­dress this law­less­ness:

• The safety of mo­torists is at risk due to the erec­tion of var­i­ous signs within pro­hib­ited ar­eas of traf­fic in­ter­sec­tions which re­sults in il­le­gal signs ob­struct­ing traf­fic signs and thereby en­dan­ger­ing mo­torists’ line of sight. This prac­tice also ham­pers the abil­ity of pedes­tri­ans to care­fully ob­serve traf­fic when they are walk­ing next to roads or at­tempt­ing to cross roads.

• Reck­less out­door ad­ver­tis­ing com­pa­nies are dig­ging mu­nic­i­pal road re­serves to erect il­le­gal signs and load­ing signs on mu­nic­i­pal bridges and street poles which re­sults in the ac­cel­er­ated wear and tear of City as­sets and in­fra­struc­ture.

• Some com­pa­nies are il­le­gally con­nect­ing to the City`s elec­tric­ity to en­er­gise their signs.

• Il­le­gal ad­ver­tis­ing has fu­elled the loss of rev­enue to the City and the erec­tion of il­le­gal signs is re­sult­ing in un­due en­rich­ment by trans­gres­sors.

• Clut­ter and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of il­le­gal signs de­pre­ci­ates prop­erty val­ues.

• Large out­door ad­ver­tis­ing com­pa­nies who are breaking the law are also stand­ing in the way of trans­for­ma­tion in that new play­ers are be­ing ob­structed from en­ter­ing and com­pet­ing in the mar­ket.

“By not cer­ti­fy­ing the erec­tion of signs and bill­boards, the struc­tural in­tegrity of them be­comes ques­tion­able. There are cases where signs have fallen onto roads thereby en­dan­ger­ing the lives of the mo­torists and pedes­tri­ans. The fol­low­ing in­ci­dents are cases in point:

• In 2015 a sign mea­sur­ing over 13 me­ters high fell onto a van with the driver in­side. The car was writ­ten off, but mirac­u­lously the driver es­caped with mi­nor in­juries.

• A car smashed into an ad­ver­tis­ing trailer on Witkop­pen Road and the driver was ad­mit­ted to in­ten­sive care with life threat­en­ing in­juries.

• A pedes­trian was knocked down by a car on Grayston Drive due to an out­door ad­ver­tis­ing sign ob­struct­ing a pedes­trian walk.

• An il­le­gal ad­ver­tis­ing board was blown onto the road by strong winds in Dunkeld and it was later es­tab­lished that the sign was not erected to with­stand the said el­e­ments.

• A sign was il­le­gally drilled onto a bridge near the Mall of the South re­sult­ing in the bridge crack­ing and need­ing ma­jor re­pairs.

To date, the City’s ef­forts to en­sure by-law en­force­ment and the con­tin­ued im­prove­ment of com­pli­ance, have been largely ig­nored by the in­dus­try:

• The City has in­vited in­dus­try play­ers to de­clare their port­fo­lios so that signs that are not per­mis­si­ble may be re­moved in agree­ment with the me­dia own­ers who own the signs. Such in­vi­ta­tions have been ig­nored.

• The City has is­sued out Con­tra­ven­tion Notices to trans­gres­sors in the in­dus­try which are be­ing ig­nored.

• The City roped in the ca­pac­ity of the Jo­han­nes­burg Metro Po­lice De­part­ment to mon­i­tor the il­le­gal erec­tion of signs.

“How­ever, il­le­gal signs are erected mostly at night and over the week­end with du­bi­ous char­ac­ters play­ing “hide and seek” when spot­ted.

“Restor­ing the rule of law in Jo­han­nes­burg re­quires us to all join hands and say enough,” said Cllr Mashaba in a state­ment.

A pedes­trian was knocked down by a car on Grayston Drive due to an out­door ad­ver­tis­ing sign ob­struct­ing a pedes­trian walk.

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