Toti: Illegal signs removed

2010-12-03 00:00

MANY owners and managers of establishments in the hospitality industry in the Amanzimtoti area were horrified to see their directional boards being taken down by municipal officials in the past week.

Other establishments that have been affected include the community crime prevention organisation (CCPO) and some churches.

Some of the proprietors The Witness spoke to and who want to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised said they have made an innocent mistake and did not know the rules or were ill advised.

“The eThekweni Municipality is doing a disservice to our town and to our tourists,” said Kim McCarthy, chairperson of the Sapphire Coast Tourism Authority.

“Drive-through tourists enter our region with no clue as to where they can find a B&B or the tourism office, which is detrimental to business in our community.

“With the festive season right on our doorstep, there will be many panicking visitors lost to Durban beachfront because there were no directional boards.”

The CCPO directional signs that were removed “had been donated by Zambezi Signs to assist the community in finding our offices. Someone else was quoted R700 to get one sign back and we cannot afford that as a non-profit organisation,”said the organisation’s Fran Cole.

In a written statement, the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA), the department that took down the signs, says that no directional boards are allowed on municipal land and those were the ones that were removed.

In the past, “old” directional boards were not removed due to poor funding.

Ntombi Maima of the ETA explained some of the rules about erecting directional signs.

Every proprietor who applies to have a sign erected will be given permission in writing, she said, and signs for B&Bs are not allowed to bear the name of the establishment.

As for the signs that have been removed, Maima said: “proprietors will be notified by mail to collect their boards, together with a fine according to the size of the boards and the number of boards removed.

“Proprietors shouldn’t be crying about money spent on boards when they knew that the boards were illegal in the first place.”

She added that proprietors who are adamant that they had permission to put up boards in the days of the South Local Council must furnish proof of permission to avoid the fine.

Maima warned that the inspector has not finished his task and will soon be back in town to remove more illegal signs.

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