Revised South African Manual for Outdoor Advertising Control (SAMOAC)


The importance of visual resources

The importance of the visual environment is often underestimated or is perceived as a fashionable and luxury environmental concern with no relevance outside the extravagant lifestyle of the upper reaches of modern society.

The real value of the visual environment must be measured against the background of the tourism industry. Visual resources such as scenic landscapes and cultural streetscapes constitute major tourist attractions. The visual environment also forms a backdrop to most other tourist activities such as game watching, touring, entertainment, shopping and sport.

The visual environment can be seen as the fabric that gives meaning and substance to any tourism experience. Each country, area, city or town has its own unique visual character and atmosphere which plays an important role in the quality of any tourist experience. In South Africa, with its richness and diversity of landscapes and cultures, it is of the utmost importance that the element of local character should be strengthened and enhanced when and wherever possible (SAMOAC, 1998).

Outdoor advertising and the environment

If not managed correctly outdoor advertising may have a major impact on the environment, and not only the aesthetic environment. It may also contribute to environmental problems such as sound and light pollution and may influence road safety. On the other hand it cannot be denied that outdoor advertising fulfils an important role in present-day life and provides us with various benefits.

Outdoor advertising control in South Africa

Currently SAMOAC forms the backbone of outdoor advertising control in South Africa. It serves as a national guideline document to controlling authorities on national, provincial and local level and also guides the outdoor advertising industry.

The main aim of SAMOAC is to initiate and co-ordinate the control of outdoor advertising. It is aimed at minimising the impacts of outdoor advertising while maximising the benefits of this advertising medium at the same time. This first document was developed by the then Deaprtment of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) in 1998 in cooperation with the National Department of Transport. Up till now it was expected of the various controlling authorities to provide legal status to SAMOAC by means of appropriate legislation.

The need for an updated SAMOAC

The main aim of SAMOAC is to initiate and co-ordinate the control of outdoor advertising in all parts of South Africa. It is aimed at minimising the impacts of outdoor advertising while maximising the benefits of this advertising medium at the same time. 

Since 1998 the needs of the outdoor advertising industry has changed to a large extent, while controlling authorities and environmental managers are also confronted with new challenges. In the interest of all the parties concerned it has therefore become necessary to update the existing version of SAMOAC.

A new approach – SAMOAC 2010

The singular approach of the 1998-edition, focusing on individual signs, has now been replaced in the updated SAMOAC by an integrated and cumulative approach focussing on the aesthetic and functional interaction between all signs. This involves the long-term, sustainable planning and management of outdoor advertising which is achieved through the application of Outdoor Advertising Potential Assessments (OAPA’s), an environmental management tool specifically developed for this purpose, and the development of Outdoor Advertising Master Plans (OAMP’s).

SAMOAC now constitutes a framework and guideline document for the standardisation of assessment criteria and the application of control measures in South Africa. The framework will enable decision making authorities and advertisers alike to approach control and regulation with an equal understanding of the issues at hand.

Enquiries to:
Ms Liza Pretorius


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South African Manual for Outdoor Advertising Control 2010

Description Pages Doc type
Front page and disclaimer [770.45 kb] 4
Table of contents, list of figures, foreword and definitions [145.19 kb] 14
Section 1 Background information [55.1 kb] 8
Section 2 Development framework for the SAMOAC [42.91 kb] 4
Section 3 Sign classification [3.62 mb] 22
Section 4 Classification of spatial entities: Landscape types and areas of control [1.11 mb] 15
Section 5 Conditions of control
5.1 General conditions and principles [535.73 kb] 12
5.2 Specific conditions:  guideline sheets for sign classes  - general information [4409 kb] 5
Section 5 Guideline sheets for sign classes 
5.2.1 Class 1 - billboards [256.2 kb]
1(a)   Gantry billboards
1(b)   Large billboards
1(c)   Medium billboards
1(d)   Small billboards
5.2.2 Class 2 – signs on buildings and structures [703.76 kb]
2(a)   Sky signs
2(b)   Roof signs
2(c)   Wall signs
2(d)   Signs and murals painted on walls and roofs
2(e)   Signs incorporated in the fabric of buildings
2(f)   Projecting signs
2(g)   Veranda, balcony and under awning signs
2(h)   Window signs
2(i)   Advertisement on towers bridges and pylons
5.2.3 Class 3 – on premises and miscellaneous signs [22.53 kb]
3(a)   On-premises business signs in urban areas
3(b)   Miscellaneous signs for urban residential orientated land use and community services
3(c)   Signs for agricultural and related land use in rural and natural areas
5.2.4 Class 4 – signs for pedestrian environments and streetscaping [141.69 kb]
4(a)   Street furniture  and large posters
4(b)   Forecourt signs
5.2.5 Class 5: signs for the tourist and traveller [253.18 kb]
5(a)   Service Facility Signs
5(b)   Road Traffic Project Signs
5(c)   Tourism Information Signs
5(d)  Gateway signs
5.2.6 Class 6 - mobile signs [467.22]
6(a)   Vehicular advertising
6(b)   Advertising trailers and self-propelled advertising vehicles
6(c)   Aerial signs
6(d)   Walking sandwich boards and other portable notices
5.2.7 Class 7 - temporary signs [437.7 kb]
7(a)   Construction site advertisements
7(b)   Project boards
7(c)   Signs for sporting events, festivals and exhibitions.
7(d)   Estate agents’ boards
7(e)   Auctions signs
7(f)    Lamppost advertising
7(g)   Handbills, leaflets and pamphlets
7(h)   Temporary window signs
5.2.8 Class 8 – other signs [101.8 kb]
8(a)  Security signs
5.3 Sign types not incorporated into the SAMOAC [208 mb] 14
Figures [75.99 kb]  
Section 6 A procedure for managing outdoor advertising and implementing conditions of control [91.67 kb]
6.1 Principles for managing outdoor advertising 4
6.2 Main problems concerning outdoor advertising control 3
6.3 Outdoor advertising potential assessments (OAPA’s), and
outdoor advertising master plans (OAMP’s).
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Discussion documents for each Guideline sheet (section 2.4.2 of draft revised SAMOAC 2008)

Sign classes Type of sign Doc type
Class 1: billboards 1a Super billboards [456.67 kb]
1b Gantry billboards [563.47 kb]
1c Large billboards [944.9 kb]
1d Medium billboards [903 kb]
Class 2: general signs 2a Product replicas and 3 dimensional signs [552.7 kb]
2b Street pole advertisements [431.06 kb]
2c Commercial signs at educational facilities [483.15 kb]
2d Specialised signs for parking areas [632.23 kb]
2e Street furniture and large posters in pedestrian areas [1.31 mb]
2f Banners and flags [785.48 kb]
2g Temporary advertisements 2gi Construction site advertisements [693.78 kb]
2gii Project boards [427.46 kb]
2giii Signs for sporting events, festivals and exhibitions [789.39 kb]
2giv Estate agents' boards and show house signs [544.82 kb]
2gv Auction signs [152.93 kb]
2gvi Election posters and municipal notices [526.43 kb]
2gvii Handbills, leaflets and pamphlets [57.58 kb]
2gviii Temporary window signs [373.28 kb]
2h Street name advertisements [483 kb]
2i Suburban adds [187.36 kb]
2j Security signs [310.49 kb]
Class 3: signs on buildings structures and premises 3a Sky signs [248.75 kb]
3b Roof signs [261 kb]
3c Wall signs [1002.93 kb]
3d Signs and murals painted on walls and roofs [1.01 mb]
3e Advertisements on towers, bridges and pylons [443.01 kb]
3f On-premises business signs in urban areas [933.68 kb]
3g Projecting signs [293.73 kb]
3h Veranda, balcony and under awning signs [326.8 kb]
3i Window signs [388.64 kb]
3j Advertisements on forecourts of business premises [902.94 kb]
3k Misc. signs for urban residential oriented land use and community services [578.68 kb]
3l Signs for agricultural and related land use in rual and natural areas [1.05 mb]
3m Signs incorporated in the fabric of a building [155.34 kb]
Class 4: signs for the tourist and traveler 4a Service facility signs [1.07 mb]
4b Sponsored road traffic projects [102 mb]
4c Tourism direction signs [638.39 kb]
4d Signs for utility companies and similar service providers [12.25 kb]
4e On-site tourism signs [983.78 kb]
4f Gateway signs [636.9 kb]
Class 5: mobile signs 5a Advertising trailers and self-propelled advertising vehicles [1.27 mb]
5b Aerial signs [2.07 mb]
5c Vehicular advertising [1013.98 kb]
5d Walking sandwich boards and other portable notices [434.81 kb]
Class 6: unique sign types 6a Beam advertising using similar sources of illumination [987.25 kb]
6b Painted stone signs on hillsides [212.8 kb]
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Other documents on outdoor advertising

Description Doc type
Discussion document: benefits of outdoor advertising and signs [1.36 mb]  
Discussion document: impact of outdoor advertising [1.36 mb]  
Discussion document: strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and outdoor advertising [58.29 kb]  
South African Manual for Outdoor Advertising Control - 1998 [6.38 mb]  
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