ADVERTISING: Steps To Prevent Billboard Abuse
Recent Western Cape Business News
The City of Cape Town has applied to the Cape High Court for an order compelling a leading signage company, Independent Outdoor Media, to remove, at its own cost, nine billboards erected on buildings in contravention of the Municipality’s Outdoor Advertising and Signage By-Law. The City has, in addition, cited the owners of the buildings on which the billboards have been erected as respondents in the application, and requested the Court to grant the same removal order against them.
Some of the signs were erected more than a decade ago and Independent Outdoor Media has ignored numerous notices served on them calling for their removal. As the owners of the properties where these signs have been erected have shown a similar disdain for City notices, a resort to the courts for the enforcement of the relevant by law has become imperative. The advertisements on the billboards promote liquor, fast food outlets, financial institutions and, in one instance, even the signage company itself. The billboards are substantial, as much as 54 square metres in area and others up to twelve metres long.
Some signs, in addition to contravening the City’s Signage By-law, are also believed to contravene the National Building Regulations, the Roads Ordinance, and the City’s zoning regulations.
The signage industry in Cape Town is extremely profitable. Outlays are minimal, and a single sign can earn the signage company in excess of R20 000 per month. If left unchecked, the proliferation of such signs is thus inevitable and the consequence will be a degradation of the aesthetics of our environment, all without any tangible advantage or benefit for the citizens of Cape Town.
The City wishes to emphasise that it is not opposed in principle to all outdoor signage. Accordingly, the by-law seeks to establish a balance between outdoor advertising opportunities and economic development on the one hand and the promotion and protection of visual, tourist, traffic safety, environmental and heritage interests on the other.
The signage company is opposing the application and it is only expected to be heard next year after all parties have had an opportunity to file papers.
The City will soon file further applications against other signage companies responsible for the erection of unlawful signs.
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