Pretoria - Political parties in the Tshwane municipal region have until Wednesday to take down election campaign posters in compliance with city by-laws.
All parliamentary, provincial or municipal election or referendum posters in the city must be removed not later than 14 days after the date of such election or referendum, unless authorised by the strategic executive director of the city planning department.
The period expires at midnight on Wednesday. This is detailed in the requirements for the display of posters section of the outdoor advertising by-law and control of outdoor advertising regulations for the City of Tshwane.
Party leaders who fail to comply face a R10 000 fine or 21 days in prison.
In the case of continuing offence, a R1 000 fine for each day the posters remained would be imposed.
For a second or subsequent offence, the offending party would be liable to a maximum fine of R20 000 or 28 days’ jail time. However, the fines and prison time may be set and revised by the chief magistrate from time to time.
In addition, any poster displayed in municipal property without permission or in contravention of the by-law will be removed and the cost of the removal covered by the responsible person.
Pre-election posters in Tshwane are classified under category three.
These include posters for parliamentary, provincial or municipal elections – including by-elections – and referendums as well as campaigns by state and parastatal institutions to promote democracy, good governance or similar principles, or any national, provincial or municipal imbizo.
For posters in this category, there may only be a maximum of three per street lamppost.
They are put up after the date on which the notice or proclamation in the Government Gazette or Provincial Gazette announcing the election or referendum is published.
Natasha Michael, for the DA, said teams were already on the streets taking down the party’s posters in the city and across the country, and were on track to beat the deadline.
“This is something we have always done every election. Besides, there are by-elections in three wards in the Tshwane metro, and posters for those need to go up,” said Michael.
The DA recycled the posters and kept the boards for future use, she added.
“This is because the boards are expensive, but unfortunately it’s not possible to recover all of them as some may have been damaged. The possibility of damage makes it difficult to put a monetary figure on this exercise.”
Sbusiso Xaba, of the Pan Africanist Congress, said removal of posters in the city had started at the weekend and would be completed well before the deadline.
Xaba said the PAC used volunteers and, therefore, did not incur any expense for the exercise.
“We normally put up posters in areas where we have active local structures, and focusing on those makes it easy to remove the posters within the legal period given,” he said.
The PAC keeps the posters that have historical significance such as those with party logos or portraits of leaders who are deceased.
Gauteng ANC spokesman Nkenke Kekana said the party had started cleaning up its pre-election outdoor advertising materials.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission, posters are controlled by the municipalities in line with their outdoor advertising by-laws.
However, there are local authorities that relax the regulations slightly during election periods.