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2017

JPC on the future of Johannesburg’s outdoor advertising industry

Outdoor Advertising By-Laws public engagement and industry workshops were held over the past few weeks in each of the seven regions around Johannesburg. The workshops were hosted by the Joburg Property Company (JPC) in conjunction with the City of Joburg (CoJ).

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The public, as well as key players and stakeholders in the outdoor advertising industry, were invited and encouraged to participate in public discussions addressing the proposed regulations that will govern outdoor advertising. The by-laws are expected to be passed in August.The JPC believes that proper regulations are needed in order to provide a safe, efficient and effective environment for all involved – the sort of environment that will allow for better business and city development.

Transforming the outdoor advertising space is a key aspect in the COJ’s Outdoor Advertising Strategy. This involves the reconfiguration of Johannesburg’s outdoor advertising space and levelling the playing fields to enable growth for newcomers to the industry.

While the CoJ development planning department and CoJ legal department are in charge of the by-laws and function as regulators, it is the JPC’s responsibility to implement these regulations by engaging with relevant entities and individuals regarding contracts and allocation of services.

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Role of the JPC Outdoor Advertising department:

  • Exclusively mandated by the city to lease all CoJ land and assets for outdoor advertising and cell masts in terms of the by-laws
  • Ensure compliance with the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and other policies in awarding and restructuring contracts in a transparent manner
  • Maximise revenue from the portfolio to contribute towards the financial sustainability of CoJ by implementing new business
  • Re-align all agreements to be by-law compliant with strict penalties for non-compliance
  • Manage all applications to the city to ensure that all advertising signs on CoJ land/assets complies with the by-laws and any other law.
  • Ensure regular contract management to deal with any transgression/s of the agreement itself (place leaseholder on terms/issue termination notices, enforce compliance, restructure and review leases, etc)
  • Reduce the size of the portfolio to reduce clutter and lawlessness
  • Effect transformation of the ownership landscape of the portfolio by empowering emerging media owners, diversifying the portfolio to create opportunities for SMMEs and Co-ops, facilitate training and development and foster enterprise
  • Ensure the removal of all illegal signs on CoJ land by December 2017 as directed by the city
  • Coordinate street furniture installations to supply amenities/provide services to the city
  • Encourage digital migration of the portfolio in line with by-aw review
  • Jointly with the CoJ planning department collaborate with the provincial roads agency and other spheres of government to ensure compliance across the city 

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JPC’s Outdoor Advertising department currently manages various forms of “out of home” advertising. This comprises an estimated 720 billboards, 3 800 on-premises signs, 30 000 various forms of street furniture (street and suburban names, transport shelters, bins, etc.), street pole advertisements and about 130 cellular mast sites and antennae which are erected on CoJ-owned assets and land.

The department also manages about 26 formal taxi rank facilities used for advertisements on behalf of the city.

At the Outdoor Advertising INDABA held on 10 May 2016, the industry and the CoJ adopted resolutions. It’s these resolutions that have been the basis of discussions at the by-laws workshops.

Speaking at the last by-laws workshop that was held in Auckland Park, JPC CEO Helen Botes said, “We have to ensure that we champion legality in this space and we have to work collectively to achieve a common outcome… We both want revenue. We both want transformation and we both want legality.”

Speaking at the same workshop, Jack Sekgobela, the Operations Manager for CoJ development planning said, “We know very well that the state of advertising in the city is not actually up to the standard where we want it to be. We want it to be an environment that is very conducive to every one of us to be able to play in this space … We had seven consultations in seven regions starting from the beginning of June, and we set aside a day just to talk to the industry.”

Sekgobela went on to explain that the goal is to end up with a by-law that will work for everyone, where the signs erected in the outdoor advertising portfolio will be safe and aesthetically pleasing.

“The levels of compliance in the city are very low. We need to improve those levels. And then every time you go out, you erect a sign, you are complying to some law,” he added.

The resolutions that were adopted by the CoJ and industry at the INDABA are as follows:


  • The industry is to come forward and declare all their illegal signs to the city
  • That CoJ, through the JPC and the development planning department agree to commit to time frames to remove all illegal signs
  • That the CoJ commits to improving the turnaround times in respect of by-law processes
  • The JPC commits to being the applicant for by-law approval in respect of council-owned land
  • The CoJ commits to consider the reduction of application fees for SMMEs
  • The CoJ commits to develop a digital policy for the city. Certain areas have been developed in the master plan and the policy is to follow
  • The CoJ will engage with development finance institutions (DFIs) to assist SMMEs with funding requirements
  • The CoJ will engage with the industry with regards to the proposed outdoor advertising master plan as part of the outdoor advertising by-law review process.
  • The CoJ commits to partner with the industry to invest in training and development in respect of outdoor advertising
  • The CoJ commits to setting up targets in terms of transformation to assist in ensuring more SMMEs participate in the industry

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Taking into account the resolutions and by-laws there will be a restructuring of the outdoor advertising portfolio, something that Botes terms “the future of outdoor advertising”.

In her presentation Botes said, “In terms of the master plan, there are 472 billboard opportunities on the city’s road reserves, 15 sites on road reserves in the form of gateway signs, and 115 on city bridges – totalling 602 opportunities on city-owned land.”

She went on to explain that in keeping with the transformation targets set, 60% of these sites would represent about 361 opportunities which must be earmarked for B-BBEE entities, leaving 241 sites for those who currently dominate ownership.

“Currently two entities hold more than 450 existing advertising sites with over 70% being illegal. To give effect to the Transformation Scorecard and optimise revenue from the portfolio, the following pertains to restructuring:

Reduction of all holdings to achieve 60% B-BBEE ownership as per target set to redress the ownership imbalances; contract review and by-laws enforcement to rid the portfolio of illegality in order to reduce clutter.”

Botes added that there would be cancellations and culling of contracts/sites that weren’t performing but are currently on a month to month basis.

In addition she said there are plans to “set aside all new projects for new or smaller entities that are majority black-owned entities as per the transformation targets and introduce new contract terms and a revenue model – with fixed rentals and turnover of up to 45%”.