The City of Cape Town has extended the period for public comment on the draft Outdoor Advertising By-law to 2 May 2017. In addition, the City will host a special information session to engage with the advertising industry about the intent and purposes of the By-law.

‘When the City adopted its Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP) in August last year, we committed to do all we can to facilitate more meaningful and broader engagement with our residents and business community about issues of importance. Given the huge interest in the new Outdoor Advertising By-law and the fact that we want the advertising industry to contribute to the conversation about the city’s transformational agenda, we have decided to extend the period for public comment by nearly a month, to 2 May 2017,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.

This is the second round of public participation, following the significant volume of comments from role players in the advertising industry and other interested parties in response to the first draft of the Outdoor Advertising By-law.

‘In addition, we will host a special information session on 2 May 2017 to engage with the advertising industry about the objectives of the new By-law and the reasoning for our new approach to be less restrictive when it comes to outdoor advertising across Cape Town,’ said Councillor Herron.

Those interested in attending the information session are requested to register before 10 April 2017 by clicking on the following link: http://www.tct.gov.za/en/upcoming-events/

‘A task team worked through the comments that we received last year and redrafted the By-law. We have tried to make the new regulations easy to grasp and to streamline the processes to be followed when applying to the City for authorisation. The new draft is easier to navigate and it is proactive. Given the extensive changes to the first draft, as well as a change in methodology, I am urging the advertising industry to please attend this information session and to assist us in refining the end-product. We would also like the public and other interested parties to participate in this process,’ said Councillor Herron.

The draft By-law is available to the public as follows:

  • On the City’s website: www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay
  • At City libraries
  • At subcouncil offices

‘We have sought to simplify the application process for industry following their concerns about uncertainty. Other examples of amendments to the first draft are that private security companies will be permitted to have additional displays of their presence within communities on request of homeowners’ associations. Similarly, we have increased the revenue possibilities for schools and non-governmental organisations after they asked the City for assistance to ensure their financial sustainability,’ said Councillor Herron.

An important aspect of the By-law is finding a balance between the need for economic growth, while at the same time ensuring that advertising and signage is not detrimental to Cape Town’s unique heritage and tourism treasures.

‘As much as we want to protect Cape Town’s visual, historical, and cultural appeal, we have to be aware of the impact of red tape and unnecessary regulation on the city’s economic growth, innovation potential, and job creation prospects. The purpose of the ODTP is also to position Cape Town as an investor-friendly city where it is easy to do business and the new By-law must assist us in achieving this outcome,’ said Councillor Herron.

The draft Outdoor Advertising By-law stipulates the following:

  • The applicable regulations to install, use, or display a sign or signage structure (including aerial signs, banners, billboards, information boards, composite signs, construction site signs, custom-shaped signs, electronic signs, flat signs, freestanding signs, inflatable signs, illuminated signs, roof signs, security signs, sky signs, window signs, and headline posters)
  • The deemed approval of certain sign types which do not require an application
  • How to apply for authorisation and the information the City needs in order to assess the application speedily
  • Application fees
  • How to appeal a decision
  • How to request an extension of an approval
  • Exemptions for certain categories of user, for example non-profit organisations
  • The removal of unlawful signs
  • Offences and penalties

Furthermore, the By-law creates different areas of control:

  • Different regulations apply in urban areas, industrial areas, rural areas such as at parks and public gardens and along scenic routes, and in natural areas such as nature reserves, heritage sites, beaches, sea shores and rivers
  • The restrictions on signage in industrial areas have been relaxed in order to promote industry and entice business to invest in industry space in Cape Town, thereby making people aware of the viable industrial capacity
  • Signage in residential areas remains controlled
  • Signage in mixed-use areas will be considered by the City for its appropriateness, but this is not overly restrictive
  • The regulation of outdoor advertising in scenic, agricultural, and horticultural areas, as well as in nature reserves and protected areas, is very restrictive

‘The By-law seeks to open up advertising possibilities in industrialised areas and areas where you would normally find businesses. Thus we want to support industrial business development, property marketing, and property sales. At the same time, the By-law also seeks to protect those areas where outdoor advertising would be inappropriate, or should be allowed only under strict conditions, for a short period, and under special circumstances,’ said Councillor Herron.

Strict requirements are proposed for signage structures to ensure the public’s safety as far as possible. Signs in windows, on roofs, and against buildings, as well as free-standing signs and inflated signs, are also regulated.

‘The draft By-law conforms with the City’s draft Climate Change Policy as well as the draft Environmental Strategy. For example, illuminated signs must be energy-efficient and ideally self-generated by using solar- or wind-generated power,’ said Councillor Herron.

The By-law is available for public comment until 2 May 2017.