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While Municipalities can provide further details, in general, signs should comply with the following principles:

On-site signage

Signage outside the road reserve is normally governed by the outdoor advertising bylaws of the particular local authority.  Such bylaws are mostly based on the principles captured in the South African Manual for Outdoor Advertising Control.  As such, signs are not governed by the Southern African Development Community Road Traffic Signs Manual, they come in all shapes and sizes.  Unless they can affect the functioning and conspicuity of formal road traffic signs, they may also contain any colour and type of text.  Such advertising signs must adhere to the following general principles.

•  Amenity and decency: They must not be detrimental to natural, or human environments, have a message which offends public morals, or obscure a legal sign owned by another person. Signs, as well as their supporting structures, must not be a danger to other people and/or property, especially road-users. They should be safely made, erected and be able to support twice their weight, in addition to any force they might experience, such as wind pressure.

•  Design and construction: Attention must be paid to the construction, erection, sign-writing and neatness. No damage to trees, public property, electrical standards, services or other public installations is allowed. Signs should be made from durable material and steps taken to stop corrosion. If services, such as electricity are required, they must be provided without defacing a building. All cables must be fixed in place, fire proof and have a switch outside the sign, which is easy to reach. All the relevant by-laws must be followed. It might be necessary to deal with other authorities such as tourism, engineer or conservation authorities.

•  Maintenance: Signs should be erected in such a way that vandalism is discouraged. They must be maintained in good repair and serviced regularly. The responsibility for signage maintenance lies with both the sign's owner and the owner of the property on which the sign is displayed.

•  Position restrictions: Restrictions on the placement of signs vary according to the different advertising categories.  The bylaws of the relevant municipality must be consulted in this regard. 

•  Illumination: There are special principles and requirements for signs which are lit, such as the position of the sign and the floodlighting, colour, size and the wattage used. It is best to let a specialist deal with applications for this type of signage.  Illumination must not serve as a nuisance to road users.

Almost all on-site signs require prior approval from the particular municipality.  Approval from other road authorities may be required if a sign is visible from a provincial or national road.

Signage within road reserves 

The Southern African Development Community Road Traffic Signs Manual and the South African Road Traffic Signs Manual govern official tourism signage within road reserve.  The relevant manuals prescribe every aspect of the signage, including the following matters:

·     The size of symbols and text (dependent on the road class and speed limit)

·     The size and the layout of the sign, as well as the type of directional arrow that may be displayed

·     The colors of the symbols, text, border and background

·     The sign face material (Backing and type of retroreflective sheeting)

·     The specifications of the supports

·     The location of the signage relative to traffic intersections and other signs

·     The height of the sign above ground level and the distance of the nearest edge of the sign to the side of the passing roadway

It must be noted that only officially delegated persons are allowed to erect signage within road reserves.  (A violation of this requirement is an offense as provided for in the National Road Traffic Act.)  This implies that tourism signage may only be erected after an application in this regard had been granted by the responsible road authority.  Municipal approval is required along municipal roads, while approval from the provincial government is required in the case of provincial roads.  The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) must approve signage along national roads."