This company has been accused of erecting illegal signs on streets, pavements and bridges in the cities of Joburg and Ekurhuleni. Picture: Anna Cox
Johannesburg - While the City of Joburg has declared war on illegal outdoor signage and has given advertisers a deadline to declare their signs - legal or illegal - a company called Office Place has been accused of placing illegal signs on hundreds of street poles, including overhead bridges and pavements.

This is taking place in the cities of Joburg and Ekurhuleni. The commercial property specialists company has gone as far as digging holes in pavements to erect wooden structures to support their advertisements.

Metrowatch has tried for a week to get a comment from the company with no response.

The city, in September, pledged to remove all illegal signs and will - from the end of this month - release figures of how many advertisers responded to the call for legalisation of their signs. The city recently stated that 90% of signs are illegal.

The Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) said advertisers would “heed the full might of the law”.

The JPC executive manager of client business operations Fanis Sarianos said the city has become aware of the heightened efforts by unscrupulous media owners of erecting advertising signs on both public and private land without council approval as required in terms of the 2009 outdoor advertising by-laws.

“Removal of illegal signs without a court order will become a norm after notifying the owners,” he said.

The implementation of the new by-laws was suspended two years ago, through a court order which resulted in advertisers being given a 36-month period to allow for a transition into the new phase pending finalisation of the litigation.

The city, he warned, would no longer stand back and allow any unscrupulous media owners to undermine its legitimacy as a statutory institution to regulate the sector.

What has also become apparent is that these illegally-erected advertising structures are not branded so owners cannot be identified.

In recent cases, trees were destroyed on Main Street, Maboneng, to advertise a beer. After a huge outcry, the advertiser said they were only renting the space, but agreed to plant 50 trees in the area to replace the damaged ones.

Uber Eats also came under fire when trees were pruned on Oxford Road, Illovo, for an advert.

The company, reacting on Facebook, said: “... we are saddened and shocked, as a company that has made a recent commitment towards becoming more sustainable with our partners, this is unacceptable.

“We are in contact with our media agency around this and the permits on the site, and once we have further details we will ensure to take the necessary actions and ensure this doesn't happen again.

"We will offset this error by committing to a planting day with our long-term partners Greenpop. While this is a small step, we will ensure we do better in future for our planet and the impact of food delivery in South Africa,” Samantha Fuller, head of Uber communications, stated on Facebook.

The Star