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Outdoor advertising industry calls for transparency
Helen Botes, the Chief Executive Officer of the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), the City of Johannesburg’s property management entity, has explained why some of the applications for outdoor advertising took too long for the City to approve.
Botes was addressing a workshop at the Johannesburg Country Club in Auckland Park on Wednesday June 28 where City officials engaged industry players on the recently approved draft by-laws aimed at ridding the outdoor advertising space of all illegal posters, billboards and signs.
Among other tough penalties, the approved draft by-laws seek to provide for the arrest and imprisonment of non-compliant media owners and directors.
At previous meetings held on the subject in the various regions of the city, several media owners blamed the proliferation of illegal outdoor adverts on the City’s slow application-approval process.
However, on Wednesday Botes said the delay in approving applications was caused by sustained clutter in many parts of the city.
“We cannot approve applications when the space is already cluttered. When industry players clutter the space with illegal posters and signs, it becomes very difficult for the City to approve new applications,” Botes said.
She said it was unfortunate because this affected those who were complying with the City’s by-laws.
“For example, if a person has a designated space that is approved in accordance with the by-laws, it will also be affected if someone else puts an illegal sign next to a valid sign. It will make that space illegal as well.
“This is an external matter that has impacted on us internally. There is also an internal matter, in terms of the turnaround time, that has forced the industry to be in this state,” Botes said.
Media owners said their main concern was with the way the City was regulating the industry.
“The best way to run this industry is to have a transparent system. People need to know that there are certain specifications that they have to follow when making an application,” said Outsmart Managing Director Joelene Mahaletse.
Jack Sekgobela, Operations Manager of Outdoor Advertising in the City’s Development Planning Department, said: “When you talk about transformation, you are talking about things you have to do at various levels with the by-laws.
“This is actually being responsive to a challenge that you have and you should be guided by policy all the way through. We want to take the new by-laws and use them to empower start-up companies.”
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