The City of Cape Town has called for public comment on its controversial outdoor advertising and signage by-law.
The City has long been criticized for what is seen as its draconian approach to out of home media. Outdoor operators accuse it of making it very difficult to operate in the city. The current by-laws limit the visual impact of outdoor advertising.
Independent Outdoor Media (IOM) MD Brent Dyssel. recently told The Media that the industry doesn’t want Cape Town looking like Las Vegas either, and that they are happy to operate in a regulated environment, “But don’t limit our choice and discriminate against us”.
Dyssel conducted a long-running legal case against the city, trying to get what he calls the “prejudicial” by-law overturned. But it was a battle he lost when the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the Western Cape High Court’s ruling that IOM billboards were illegally erected.
Dyssel told The Media that the heart of the case was the statute’s distinction between ‘first-party’ and ‘third-party’ advertising. First-party signs advertise goods available or services performed on the property on which they are displayed (the sign above a mechanic’s garage, for instance); third-party signs are those rented out to advertisers.
Now the city says it is “updating its legislation and guidelines governing outdoor advertising and signage and values input from members of the public”.
“Signage and outdoor advertising is regulated in nearly every major metropolitan city in the world. Cape Town’s tourism and business sectors continue to compete with the best in the world. We therefore continue to structure each policy framework to drive economic growth and opportunity,” says said the City’s mayoral committee member for economic, environmental and spatial planning, Councillor Garreth Bloor.
“At the same time, it is critical to be mindful of the impact that outdoor signage will have on the environmental aesthetic of the City. This draft policy seeks to find a suitable balance between the need for economic opportunities and environmental protection,” he says.
The City has asked for public comment on “certain provisions of its Outdoor Advertising and Signage By-law, as well as the proposal for a new outdoor advertising and signage policy”.
It says the by-law should “strike a balance between outdoor advertising opportunities and economic development on the one hand, and the city’s visual, tourist, traffic safety, environmental and heritage characteristics on the other”.
Bloor says the policy is being reviewed “in order to bring it in line with the City’s commitment to building an opportunity city that seeks to maximise economic opportunities for the people of Cape Town”.
It also says the policy framework needs to take into account “ 21st Century technological innovations (such as touch screens) as well as advertising on City assets so as to leverage additional income”.
“This will go some way towards realising the City’s commitment to facilitating economic development opportunities for small business owners,” Bloor says.
The current Outdoor Advertising and Signage By-law; the proposed amendments to the by-law; and the Outdoor Advertising Signage Policy are available here. Comment can be made up until 21 June 2013.
Anyone wishing to comment can contact the city via a number of channels:
* By fax to 021 425 4448
* By hand delivery to Gavin van Schalkwyk, 13th Floor, Tower Block, Civic Centre, Hertzog Boulevard, Cape Town
* By post to P.O. Box 4511, Cape Town, 8000 (marked for the attention of Gavin van Schalkwyk)
The comment form for the proposed by-law amendments is available at: http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/PublicParticipation/Documents/Commentary_Form_draft_OABL_Amendments_May_2013_3.pdf
The comment form for the proposed policy is available at http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/PublicParticipation/Documents/Commentary_Form_draft_OA_policy_may_2013.pdf