Illegal flyers headache

2015-05-05 06:00

Safe abortions. Sangomas. Phallic enlargements.

These are just some of adverts on the hundreds of posters popping up across Maitland and Salt River.

Now the Maitland City and Salt River Business Improvement Districts are calling for harsher punishment of those erecting illegal posters.

The City of Cape Town has contracted a company to remove the posters, but infrequency on the contractor’s part leaves posters up for enough time that it becomes a viable advertising source according to Gene Lohrentz, CEO of Geocentric Urban Management which manages the improvement districts.

City of Cape Town media manager Priya Reddy says the City removes these pasted flyers, along with any other illegal posters or estate agents boards in all areas.

“The pasted posters are unauthorised, and cause damage to public property. They are a visual blight and are a burden on the rates base to clean up,” she says.

The CIDs assist the City in some areas, helping with blitzes and, in particular, may have the surveillance tools to catch the polluters in the act of pasting.

“Should vandals pasting these be caught, the City will not hesitate to prosecute, and the fines can be anything from R2 500 to R100 000 in the criminal courts,” she adds.

In a move to discourage these posters in the first place, the CIDs are taking proactive action to reduce the impact of them.

“We remove the posters as quickly as possible so that the transgressor does not get any mileage from the poster,” he says.

“The posters create a very negative impression of the area and also serve as a general indicator that nobody in the area cares about the public environment.”

This includes working with City contractors when they are in the area, Lohrentz explains. However, this is a tall task which takes hours out of the CID cleaning staff’s day.

“If we allow even as little as five minutes per poster and we see 100 posters in our area that will result in eight hours worth of work. Imagine what good we could have done with that time – like cleaning or doing maintenance work to upgrade the area,” he says.

Added to this is the cost of the equipment, as well as the subsequent removal of paint from infrastructure along with the poster and there is then a reinstatement cost, Lohrentz says. Posters are a daily occurrence, with around 300 of the same posters going up once a week against every piece of public infrastructure including electrical boxes, lamp posts, bus stops and litter bins.

“This happens mostly late at night or in the early hours of the morning and we have found a number of instances of it being done on Sunday afternoons as well,” he says.

Many of the perpetrators claim to be doing it solely for the money, Lohrentz says.

However, taking action against the perpetrators is the biggest challenge and Lohrentz suggests: “Much firmer action and stronger penalties must be imposed by the City if we are to stop this scourge in our communities.”

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