Billboards and Advertising

Billboards fall under the category outdoor advertising, which is any media/advertising that is
outdoors and is visible from public roads and places. A public road is defined by the “the Road and
Ribbon Act” as any road declared a Public Road in terms of any law, but excluding a National Road.
The National Road Traffic Act no 93 of 1996 sheds further light on the definition of a Public Road and
defines it as “any road, street or thoroughfare or any other place which is commonly used by the
public or any section thereof or to which the public or any section thereof has a right of access”. By
definition this includes all Municipal and Provincial Roads.
Billboards on Municipal and Provincial Roads are regulated by the Tshwane Outdoor advertising By
Laws as well as other statutes such as the Town Planning Scheme and the Roads and Ribbon Act.
Municipalities have a statutory duty to ensure the safety of the motorist using these public roads, by
ensuring that the motorist is not overly distracted by the billboard as well as to protect the
environment surrounding the area where the billboard will be placed. By giving the municipalities
the authority to regulate advertisements on or visible from Public Roads, they can also regulate the
types of advertisements that are displayed in these areas, and in this manner protect the
environment. Before one considers placing a billboard it is important to peruse the Tshwane
Outdoor Advertising Bylaws as well as the South African Manual for Outdoor Advertising Control for
the processes to follow and one important step is the application that has to be made to the
municipality for prior approval.
The content of the advert placed on the billboards on the other hand are regulated by other specific
rules. The most important piece of legislation for Advertising companies to consider when
advertising to the public is the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (“the CPA”), which promotes the
advertising of products in a fair and reasonable manner. It also forces advertisers to ensure that no
misrepresentation is made about their products. In addition to the general CPA provisions, the actual
content of an advertisement is regulated through a self-regulatory system with the Advertising
Standards Authority of South Africa (“the ASA”) at its head. The Code of Advertising Practice (“the
Code”) is the guiding document of the ASA. To read more on the ASA, see

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