The City of Johannesburg has suspended the implementation of its new outdoor advertising by-law pending the outcome of a legal dispute.
The by-law will see companies facing criminal charges and allow Metro police to take down all illegal advertising. This includes signs on City-owned, public and private property. It was drafted early last year and was open for public consultation in June.
Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said the City was currently locked in litigation with a large outdoor advertising company. In the interim, the City would continue to enforce the 2009 by-law, it said, in its entirety.
The implementation of the City’s Operation Buya Mthetho, Mashaba said, will also now be extended to illegal outdoor advertising. This 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),” added Mashaba. “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.”
The South African Property Owners’ Association (Sapoa) released a statement in which it said although certain amendments were made, none of the fundamental submissions made by it and other important industry role players were included in the outdoor advertising report in council.
Early in May, Sapoa said it would approach the High Court if their demands were not met.
The omissions, the association said, included concerns that the promulgation of the new by-law would immediately criminalise hundreds of private property owners with unapproved advertising signs on their properties ‘without affording the affected property owners the opportunity of arranging their affairs’.