Harare revises advertising by-laws

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HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC) has revised its advertising by-laws in a bid to come up with watertight regulations.

HCC’s decision follows complaints by some councillors on how political and musical print adverts had turned the city into a paper jungle.

Everyone wishing to advertise through posters will now have to apply to HCC and a dummy poster should be attached.

Anyone who breaks the new law faces prosecution.

“A poster displayed without permission or in contravention of the law shall without notice be removed by council,” the by-law says. “Costs incurred will be borne by the person or company displayed on the poster.

“The person shall be guilty and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or one month imprisonment or both. Council shall operate a special account into which money realised from the sale of unclaimed advertising signs shall be deposited.”

Councillors in the past accused city managers of failing to maximise revenue collection from adverts by allowing billboards to stay for longer than paid for.

Council will now be pulling down any billboards whose rents are due, to cut down on revenue losses.

Under the amended laws, posters now include lease signs, electronic billboards, wall murals or wraps, fixed touchline sign, electronic light emitting diode (LED) advertising and touchline signs erected in any land or building under the city’s jurisdiction.

Council now demands that all LED advertising signs be less than 10 square metres in area and erected at a height of not less than 2,5 metres while the urban planning director will only approve aerial adverts accompanied by Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe clearance.

Newspaper and political placards are now expected to cover not more than three square metres from 0,56 square metres.

Media houses and politicians, under the new laws, are now also required to apply to council before erecting any placards while political campaign materials will attract an application fee from candidates and parties.

“Newspaper placards shall be erected on approved sites only, be displayed in a permanent frame or other approved backing by director,” the new by-laws say. “They shall not be placed by on or against trees, road traffic sign, bridges or any other areas as determined by director from time to time.

“Every political poster shall be attached to a board made of wood, hardboard, corex or other approved weather-proof material in such manner it will not become wholly or partially dislodged by wind or rain.”

Only stout strings and plastic ties are allowed in securing the adverts contrary to glues that were normally used by many.

All adverts will have to be secured to street poles erected by council in street or public place, says the law, which stipulates that they should be between 600 and 900mm high and 450mm to 600mm in width.

All approved posters must carry a council mark.

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