Harare City Council is concerned with the mushrooming of illegal billboards on road verges and private properties across the city.
The city has advised all property owners with illegal billboards within their premises to visit council offices within seven days for possible regularisation failure of which council will be forced to remove such billboards and charge the removal cost to the affected property owners.
Works director Eng Zvenyika Chawatama said the Harare (Control of Advertising Signs) By-Laws prohibit putting up signage, billboards or wall murals without council permission.
“According to the Harare (Control of Advertising Signs) By Laws, 1981 it is illegal to erect billboards or any structure within City of Harare area of jurisdiction without a permit and approved plans from council. Such billboards will be pulled down by council,” he said.
“As per council Environment Management Committee Minutes (& June 2018) resolution number 22, council resolved to start charging all billboards on private properties and wall murals on buildings. All property owners with illegal billboards within their premises are advised to visit council offices within a week for possible regularization.”
Eng Chawatama said should property owners defy the notice council will proceed to invoke the provisions of Section 20 as read with Section 29B of the Harare (Control of Advertising Signs) By-Laws.
The By-Laws in question empowers council to remove the illegal signage, billboards or wall murals and charge the removal cost incurred to the affected property owners.
Council is losing millions of dollars in potential revenue owing to illegal billboards placed on private properties by unregistered companies.
Unregistered billboards are dangerous and are reversing the city’s drive towards a World Class City by 2025.
City of Harare gets an average $300 000 per month from 1 103 billboards owned by companies registered with the city.
Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba recently said the city will ensure that all defaulters were accounted for.
“We will make sure those taking advantage of council are brought to book, advertising companies who owe a lot of money must pay, we would rather not have no adverts than to deal with people not reciprocating our good gestures,” he said.