City threatens to remove billboards

Source: City threatens to remove billboards | Herald (Top Stories)

Municipal Reporter

CASH-strapped Harare City Council, which is losing potential revenue from illegal advertising billboards, has issued a one-month notice threatening to remove unmaintained and dilapidated billboards across the city.

As with much in the city, there are by-laws that demand city council approval and fees that must be paid, but these in recent times have not been enforced and fees have not been collected. Harare (Control of Advertising Signs) By-Laws prohibit putting up signage, billboards or wall murals without council permission.

And now there are concerns that even some of the legally erected billboards are no longer contributing any revenue to the council.

In a statement, the council said it had witnessed a growing number of unmaintained dilapidated and unclaimed billboards in road servitudes, bus ranks and the city centre which are potential hazards to the public.

“Advertising companies or corporates are advised to maintain their billboard structures so as to prevent potential harm to the public. A time period of one month is being given for companies to renovate their structures. Council will start to take corrective action at the expiry of this grace period,” said the council.

Harare City Council said private property billboard owners were being reminded to contact the local authority for regularisation.

“All old unclaimed billboards along municipal road servitudes and ranks will risk to be removed or being taken over by council,” said the council.

“Should you defy this notice, the director of works shall proceed to evoke the provisions of the Harare (Control of Advertising Signs) By-laws, 1981 Section 20, that is to say City of Harare will remove the said billboards and charge the removal cost incurred to the affected entities.”

The local authority has been issuing threats to remove the billboards over the past years without moving to action, a move Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Innocent Ruwende yesterday said would be a thing of the past.

“We will be enforcing the order without fail,” he said. “We want to bring order and sanity in the city. Our development control will be capacitated to ensure that it carries its mandate efficiently.”

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