ADreach will defend its rights against City of Joburg
by Herman Manson (@marklives) Outdoor advertising company, ADreach, will defend its rights against the City of Joburg, following the release of a statement by Leah Knott, the city’s member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for economic development, indicating that the city had served a legal notice on the street-pole advertising company. In a final letter of demand, the city is insisting that ADreach remove all advertising from street poles across the city.
Brad Fisher, ADreach CEO, says he disputes the content of the statement issued by the city and that the company believes the city administration is trying to violate its rights by refusing to honour commitments made to the company under the previous (ANC-run) administration. ADreach will defend its rights and show substantive evidence that the city had made a commitment to the company, which employs close to 150 people, that it could continue operating its sites and that a new contract would be forthcoming after the previous contract came to an end. That a signed renewal is not in place doesn’t dilute its rights, nor may the city move against its sites without having concluded a legal process in a court of law, which the company will defend.
“The Joburg Property Company issued a notice of termination of its memorandum of agreement with Adreach in February 2017,” reads the statement issued by the City of Joburg. “This notice also required ADreach to remove its advertising and repair any damage to city property caused by said advertising boards, within 90 days. This notice has been ignored by ADreach, which has resulted in the city issuing a final letter of demand, giving the company 30 days to comply. Failure to comply will result in the city removing all street pole advertising and claiming the costs from ADreach.”
The city also notes that ADreach is “by no means the only offender” and that “almost all outdoor companies are operating illegal signs and billboards to some extent.”
According to Andrew Stewart, strategic adviser in the office of MMC councillor Knott, the lease is being terminated as the contract has now expired. “As contained in the contract, the advertiser must remove their signs upon expiration of the contract,” Stewart told MarkLives.
On being asked why ADreach was seemingly singled out in the city’s press statement, Stewart said, “There are other companies that have been notified of the expiration of their contracts; however, they are being notified for the first time. They are still under grace period and so we will give them a chance to comply. We are in the process of introducing control in the industry, so we will get around to illegality in all areas of outdoor, from trailers to billboards in due course.”
Fisher says all his sites are legal and that the company has never received a single breach notice from the city. The company had been operating in the city for two decades and had paid over more than R125m in fees to the city.
The city’s new by-laws regarding outdoor advertising will pass through council this month. The aim is to reduce the advertising clutter in Jozi and reintroduce control and regulation in outdoor advertising: “By reducing outdoor advertising, we will enhance its revenue value to both the city and the advertising companies. This will also give us the opportunity to open up the game to smaller players and ultimately create a more open and transparent advertising arena.”
Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of MarkLives.com.
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