The City of Johannesburg is in the process of reviewing its outdoor advertising contracts amid allegations of irregularities. TheMediaOnline looks into the outdoor war in South Africa’s busiest city.
The opposition Democratic Alliance this month called on the City of Johannesburg to “start from scratch” and open up a 40-year outdoor advertising contract for tender. The DA’s transport spokesman in Johannesburg, Nico de Jager, claimed that the city had “plans to renegotiate an illegal signage contract” where he said proper procedures were not followed.
“The initial contract was signed illegally in 2010 by a contract worker, who has since retired to Australia. The contract was signed with a 40-year lease at a 5% income on the signage,” said De Jager.
He said that according to his information, the city had turned down a more lucrative contract in favour of the 40-year lease that was of “very little financial benefit to the city”.
He added that “essentially illegal advertising” had been erected in Johannesburg since 2010.
“The City of Johannesburg should start from scratch and publicly open up this contract for tender. Profits from such a contract could be used to improve the lives of the citizens of this metro.”
TheMediaOnline approached the City of Johannesburg for comment. It said that the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) had been mandated to manage the city’s contracting of sites for the outdoor advertising and cell phone masts on council-owned property.
JPC spokesman Brian Mahlangu acknowledged in an email to TheMediaOnline that there had been “gaps” in the contracting process.
“The City of Johannesburg has mandated the Johannesburg Property Company to manage its full portfolio on contracting of sites for the outdoor advertising and cell phone masts on Council-owned land and assets,” said Mahlangu.
“In the past, this function was performed by various entities who include the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), City Power and the now merged Metro Trading Company (MTC). This resulted in a gap in contracts, terms and conditions which were sometimes not favourable to the City.”
He said the JPC would manage the awarding of sites, the entering into lease agreements, conduct research on effective outdoor advertising management and collect revenue.
The JPC would also conduct a “a proper due diligence of all agreements and financial records to be handed over/inherited both from a financial viability and in respect to compliance with the City’s procurement policies, authority and applicable by-laws”.
“JPC and JRA together with the City’s legal department have already started implementing the process of nullifying leases that were declared null and void,” said Mahlangu.
The City was negotiating with existing contract holders to minimise the risk of claims for damages “by those found to have unlawfully entered into such contracts”, he added.