Signboard erection

Western Cape Institute "cannot accept" fee increases for signboard erection
In a week which saw Capetonians reeling under announcements regarding increased electricity and petrol prices, the local property industry was also hit by the SA Reserve Bank’s refusal to lower interest rates further – as had been requested by most of the leading figures in the industry – and indications from Tito Mboweni that we may have seen the last interest rate drop for some time.

Then, on top of all this, the Cape Town City Council decided to make Cape estate agents’ lives still more difficult by almost tripling the fee for erecting their signboards.

“The fee,” says Ivan Neethling, Chairman of the Western Cape Institute of Estate Agents, “has been raised from R560 to almost R1 400. This has been done without any consultation with agents and without granting the Institute a chance to explain just how difficult this makes business for the smaller operators. The Council has been alarmingly inflexible on this matter, despite many requests to engage with us.”

In the current economic conditions, said Neethling, no industry is as hard hit as the property sector, which has experienced “massive attrition” in its ranks. (The number of registered estate agents in SA has in fact dropped from over 90 000 to close on 30 000 – and is still going down.)

“The survival of estate agents, particularly those in the less affluent areas, who are struggling to cope under conditions in which bank credit has been cut by 65% as a result of the NC Act, depends on their being able to afford to put up signboards. They simply do not have the funds to advertise in the media at today’s prices – and R1 400 will be beyond the means of most agents. ”

Neethling added that in many other SA municipalities the erection of outdoor signage is in fact under the control of the Institute of Estate Agents who ensure that their members adhere closely to good governance policies regarding the frequency, the times and the positions of signboards.

“Here in Cape Town we in the Institute have offered the Council this service,” said Neethling, “but all suggestions that we could work together to find satisfactory solutions have been ignored. Nevertheless, we hope still to get together with the Council, who in so many other ways have shown a very real sympathy for the plight of those hard hit by today’s recession.”

Article by: