Category Archives: Crime related

Long Street side lane closures / privatisation

A local newspaper is doing an article on side lane closures in Long Street. If this is of interest to you, and if you have thoughts or ideas on these developments, please can you provide feedback to the questions below:

  1. Who is the person(s) responsible for the closures of lanes in Long Street?
  2. How do you feel about these closure?
  3. What would you like to see happening with regards to potentially closing Vredenburg Lane
  4. How have you engaged with other relevant stakeholders (eg the City, SAPS, CCID, etc) around this matter?
  5. If you have, what has the feedback been from these bodies and has any discussion with them yielded any results (Whether positive or negative)?
  6. Do you know who was responsible for the closure of the other Long Street lanes (Orphan and the lane one adjacent to Clarke’s)?
  7. Do you have have any concerns around these closures? If so, what are there?
  8. Do these closures portend a possible trend? If so, what are the possible positives of such a trend and what are the negatives?
  9. What value does having accessible lanes add to Long Street?
  10. Any other comments you wish to make?

Communities have been asked to report incidents of bad policing

From the Cape Argus, edited by Tamsin Wort
, 4th October 2013

CAPE TOWN – Despite the prevalence of CCTV cameras, foot patrols and a private-public crime-fighting partnership statistics show that robberies, burglaries and drug-related crimes have increased in the Cape Town CBD.

The police’s crime statistics show a 36 percent increase in business break-ins and a 12 percent rise in aggravated robberies reported to the Cape Town Central Police Station during the past financial year. City of Cape Town officials say they are reviewing their crime strategies in the city bowl and have called an urgent meeting to look into the issue.

There are 92 CCTV cameras in the city bowl and an average of 70 foot officers deployed to the area by the Central City Improvement District. Despite these interventions, burglaries, muggings and drug-related crimes remain a problem.The city’s JP Smith says Long Street is one of the hot spots they have identified.

“We have a problem with muggings, especially when people become inebriated. Once people have had a few drinks too may the muggers have a much easier prey on Long Street.” Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato says, “We have asked that the police increase their visibility in these hot spot areas.” Officials say a series of undercover operations will be carried out in an attempt to get a handle on the city’s drug problem.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Community Safety Department has launched a new SMS line in a bid to get more feedback from people about policing in the province. Communities have been asked to report incidents of bad policing as well as provide positive feedback using the SMS line, 35395.

Copyright Primedia (Pty) Ltd

“Don’t ask me, ask them!” the cop snapped back

From the Business Day Live, by Sipho Hlongwane
, 1st October 2013

THERE is a certain amount of seediness that one is willing to accept from Long Street in Cape Town. This after all is a street lined with grungy bars and nightclubs, and some that do not even make that much of an effort.

Walking down the street at night is to walk a gauntlet of grimy puddles, drunk and drugged revellers, tinny music, aggressive beggars and offending smells. But that is the charm of it. The fun is unvarnished. The promise of danger looms heavier than the famous mountain just over yonder.

But one does not expect to walk into a riot on the street. One certainly does not expect it to escalate and then ebb all on its own, in full view of a handful of police officer. But that was my Sunday morning. And I am profoundly disturbed by the indifference of it. The whole thing was too big and too violent to have died away without any attention from the greater public, whether it be in the press, or the City of Cape Town’s response.

It is difficult — pointless, even — to recreate the events in the dry tones of journalism. It is not like I arrived after the fact, ready with my notepad and pen to extract facts from authorities and bystanders. I saw it happen. I spent perhaps an hour with my girlfriend comforting and marshalling shocked and injured bystanders. I was as much a part of the scene as I was an observer.

I could not tell you how it started. We arrived on the scene walking in a north-easterly direction towards our hotel in the early hours of Sunday after a night spent revelling in an avant-garde theatre performance. The first sign of trouble was a section of the sidewalk that was blocked off with police tape.

There were perhaps three ambulances and two police cars, and I remember seeing three men lying on the ground. One was about to be lifted into an ambulance, and was shirtless. He had three big wounds in his back. The other two were being attended to by the paramedics on the ground. Something big had clearly just happened.

These were young boys, no older than 20. On the side of the street that we were on, there was a big group of boys of a similar age, milling about anxiously and occasionally shouting at the handful of police who were there. I can only understand so much Xhosa, but they were angry.

Suddenly, that same group — moving as if they were one — took off at a terrific pace around the block. That speed is employed in two occasions: when people are running away, or running toward something terrible. I had to follow. I sincerely wish I had not.

As I rounded the corner, having run fast enough to catch up with the tailend of the group, I saw two (maybe three) men surrounded by this group that I had followed. A torrent of punches was raining down on them. They were both crouched in the foetal position, but under such a hail of blows, it was not helping. Then someone took out a knife, and the last I saw of that scene was the convulsions of one back as it went into it. I could not see anymore because I had hands on me. My assailants were barking furiously in my face. Who was I? Was I of this group, or that?

This was a gang thing. I summoned every last scrap of breath to shout back that I was media. It took two or three roars for the message to sink in. They eventually thrust me aside. I ran back to Long Street. The scene had somehow worsened. For a moment it was absolute pandemonium. People were running in every direction, and in practically everywhere direction I looked, someone was being assaulted.

The only oasis of calm was a small collection of police in the middle of the street.

I rushed over to ask what happened. “Don’t ask me, ask them!” the cop snapped back. I do not believe I was truly frightened until that moment. They seemed to believe that their only task in such a situation was to direct traffic around the cordoned off area. This was going to get very bad.

I found another group of angry rioters, and asked them what happened. One of the more naive ones replied and said that they were a school group from Nyanga who had come to Long Street to celebrate, something, and had all been partying well enough when they noticed one of “their” group members being assaulted by someone belonging to another, and decided to get involved. Then it just went all over the place.

I went to another group and asked the same thing. They would not say a thing to me. Then I recognised their faces. This was the same group that was about to commit grievous violence on me just moments before.

We decided to walk away. We went for the delicious Asian food that Long St specialises in and walked into find another group of people in distress. This was different. For one thing, there was a white girl with them and she was in shock. Her friends were crying. They turned out to be tourists from Pretoria who had come to Cape Town to visit, and the white girl had been mugged. The police, seeing her black friends trying to comfort her, immediately assumed she was being mugged and tried to intervene. No amount of explaining helped, and who knows what would have happened if we had not arrived and intervened? What incompetence. What infuriating stupidity. Why are they so good at making a bad situation worse?

After collecting our food, with the riot continuing unabated outside, we walked further up the road to our hotel. We found yet another group of tourists who were caught up, either by getting assaulted or robbed. They were from some European country — I forget which — and were so immobilised with fear and trauma that we had to repeatedly ask them to get off the street and to safety before they would move.

Our hotel room overlooked Long Street, and from the safety of height, watched the event unfold. I do not think I saw more than 10 police on the scene. I think there were about 150 people on the street at any point, and most were angry young men. This was a riot.

Dawn was approaching at this point. Taxis were pulling up, and some of these people were getting in. Some were injured. Some tried to clamber onto the outsides of the departing taxis, and were getting hauled off by assailants or police. It was all a bit too traumatic for me. I watched football on the iPad to calm myself, and went to sleep.

Do we care that this happened? Aside from the drama, I mean. Does it mean anything that I observed violence everywhere when I was just on a night out in Cape Town? I did not see any news coverage at all. I certainly did not see enough law enforcement to calm the situation quickly enough to save people.

I can deal with the indifference of the police and I saw enough of it in Marikana to last me several lifetimes, but it blows my mind that — apparently — Long Street gets ragged to this degree and it can pass for just another incident that we will quickly forget about. It is not that tourists and pretty white girls (hello media, this is where you step in, right?) got hurt. It is the fact that we can accept this as normal lived experience and be okay with that.

For a moment, Long Street was the setting for the kind of violence that goes on in Cape Town’s townships and slums daily. This after all is the most dangerous city in the country with one of the worst murder and assault rates in the world, but it all happens out there, doesn’t it?

It is not good enough to shrug and say, “Long Street, hey” and move on. I am furious with the police who did not care and the journalists who did not turn up to cover this, and the bystanders who shrugged and walked by. But to properly interrogate what happened on Sunday would require us to give a damn about what happens “out there in the Cape Flats”, wouldn’t it?

And we wonder why our social problems are seemingly intractable.

Copyright BDFM Publishers

Dismay when only three people turned up …

From the CapeTowner, 6th September 2012

Officers from the Cape Town Central police station expressed their dismay when only three people turned up for their imbizo, even though notices were sent to the role players. Central City Improvement District (CCID) security manager, Muneeb Hendricks, said he was dismayed at the turnout after sending out more than 100 invitations by email.

“These meetings are important because they give the community an opportunity to liaise directly with police about their concerns. Over the past few years, I have noticed that when things are going well, few people attend,” he said. Mr Hendricks also said there was a shift in crime in the CBD from “major crimes” to “social crimes”. The police precinct covers the CBD, De Waterkant, Gardens, Vredehoek, Higgovale, Bo-Kaap and Oranjezicht, among other areas. However, the imbizo was held to discuss crime in various parts of the CBD including the central city, the Forsehore, the Grand Parade and the station deck.

Station Commander Brigadier Kolindhren Govender expressed his dissatisfaction at the turnout and said officers went out of their way to be there. “Cape Town Central is a very busy station and we need the community to come on board and raise their concerns with us about crime. “On average, more than 450 000 people come and go in to the CBD every day. “It is a very different police precinct in that we cover the residential areas, Table Mountain and the entire CBD. “In the CBD, we manage more than 600 liquor outlets and one only has to drive down Long Street on a Friday or Saturday night to see the problems we have to deal with,” Brigadier Govender said.

Geoff Madsen of the Long Street Residents‘ Association (LSRA) said he didn’t attend because he received no notification of the meeting. Mr Madsen said he attended previous imbizos and found them useful. “In my opinion the biggest crime problem is snatching of handbags, and drugs. A while ago my wife’s bag was stolen at Mojito in Long Street and we reported it to the police. They came to our apartment and weren’t very helpful. We then called our sector commander, Sergeant Clifford Saunders, who came out and helped us to report the case,” he said.

Responding to questions posed by the CapeTowner on the attendance at meetings, Gert Coetzee, a member of the De Waterkant Civic Association, said he was not surprised by the low attendance at the imbizo. “By scheduling a meeting with the public for a Thursday morning, the police commander was sure to exclude most of the community in the CBD and surrounds most residents are at work then. “The same goes for the Community Police Forum meetings – held during work hours,” Mr Coetzee said.

When asked whether the police had considered scheduling the meetings at a more suitable time for residents, Brigadier Govender said: “The arrangement with CPF, security roleplayers and Business of Cape Town CBD is for meetings to be held during business hours and community members will attend evening Imbizos.” Speaking on general crime trends in the CBD, visible police commander, Colonel Pierre Laubscher said dealing with crime in the CBD was a complex issue. “In the city, you find a little bit of everything.

This precinct cannot be compared to areas such as Mitchell’s Plain, where crimes are often gang related. A few months ago, we had a shooting outside the courts in Keerom Street and that was gang related. The city also never sleeps. We have to monitor what happens all the time,” he said. Colonel Laubscher said in the past month, 14 motorbikes were stolen in the precinct and in some cases, arrests were made before the vehicles were reported as stolen. He also said that thefts out of motor vehicle were a concern.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.

How do Long Street residents and hotels measure the CCID …

From the Cape Argus, by Lynette Johns, 5th July 2012

LONG Street residents say they are fed up with high noise levels, crime and grime and are now asking what the role of the Central City Improvement District really is.

Byron Qually who heads up the Long Street Residents Association says for the monthly levy which comes to R200 per resident, the impact is being questioned.

They say the CCID is far more concerned about the rights of business than those of residents, and too much money is spent on marketing and not enough on security and dealing with the real issues of crime and grime. Qually estimates that there are between 800 to 1 000 people living in and around Long Street. The CCID is a “top-up” of the services offered by the municipality.

Chief Operating Officer of the CCID, Tasso Evangelinos said he was more than happy to meet with the association.

Restaurant and boutique hotel owner Janis Ross says there are concerns from residential apartments and hotels being overlooked by the CCID in favour of bars and nightclubs which is detrimental to their businesses.

Ward Councillor Dave Bryant said the a special unit in the city’s law enforcement dealt with issues of noise pollution and two months ago the sound equipment of a popular nightclub was confiscated.

According to the residents association noise pollution and “associated criminal threats” is the main reason why Long Street residents are leaving the city. “Increasing costs, not just for additional levies, but due to long-term city parking being limited, and 24 hour charge for parking on the street is causing concern,”

Qually said. According to the association, Long Street residents collectively contributed between R120 000 to R150 000 every month. “This excludes those businesses that also pay a monthly CCID levy,” Qually said. He questioned why R19 million was spent on security service who had no power of arrest and R2 million on marketing.

“Both nightclub and residents have requested that part of that budget to go to a full time police officer who is invested with powers of arrest, but again no progress has been made on this. Why does an organisation such as this require such an large budget. Surely, it should be reallocated to the provision of services,” Qually said.

Bryant said the CBD was becoming increasingly mixed use and more people were moving in, but he understood the qualms Long Street residents have. “It is an area where issues around noise is high and that is because of all the clubs,” he said.

Ross said there are enormous concerns about the noise levels in Long street and these had to be addresses and by-laws enforced with urgency. “I have met many residents who have moved or who are looking to move and whilst most of our guests love our hotel they complain bitterly about the noise factor, and the ongoing harassment by informal car guards, drug dealers, illegal pavement parking and general unruly behaviour,”

Ross said. While the CCID had put more security on the street they did not have the power to arrest anyone and this posed a problem. “Less of these (security) and the deployment of police and traffic officers with the power of arrest would be welcomed by all,” Ross said.

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From the Cape Argus, 6th July 2012

Cape Town’s Central City Improvement District has hit back at Long Street residents, saying most of its budget is spent on security and that Cape Town CBD is the safest and cleanest in the country. The Long Street Residents Association says the CCID is not doing enough about noise, crime, grime and parking, and queried its R33 million budget.

CCID chief operating officer Tasso Evangelinos said an independent survey had found that Cape Town’s CBD was considered to be one of the safest and cleanest in the country, and this was “thanks in no small part to the efforts of the CCID”.

Since the launch of the CCID in 2000, crime had fallen by close to 90 percent. It was the role of the city council to deal with noise pollution. Evangelinos said the cost of parking had come up strongly in recent surveys as an issue of concern for all users of the CBD. The CCID had passed the findings on to the city, which had started a public participation process, with the current parking tender about to expire.

Copyright 1999 – 2011 Independent Online, a division of Independent Newspapers (Pty) Limited

Residents’ flee Cape Town CBD as nightclubs are above the law …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 8th March 2012

Despite the fact that the City has instituted legal proceeding against the Loop nightclub, residents claim they are “running scared” and are moving out of the area (“City noise on the rise” CapeTowner January 19). Residents in Pepper Street first raised concerns about the nightclub operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence in December last year. They also said the noise emanating from the club was excessive and kept them awake. When the CapeTowner contacted them again in January, they refused to comment on alleging they had been victimised. They said the club was owned by Sea Point businessman Mark Lifman, who also owns the Specialised Protection Services (SPS).

One resident who asked not to be named said he had just terminated the lease for his Pepper Street apartment and would be moving far away from any nightclubs. “The issue is that nightclubs in the CBD are above the law. “They open without having the necessary licences and cause hell for nearby residents. “We have all read the reports about the club’s ownership and as individuals we cannot put ourselves in the line of fire so for our personal safety we are opting to leave. “It’s a scary situation to be in and whether they close it or not, this will happen again. I have contacted the owner, of my apartment who is in London, informing that I will be leaving and he has not objected because he understands and is worried about the situation in Cape Town.

One has to question where the authorities are in this and what is the City doing as they are well aware that the club is trading without a licence,” he said. However, mayoral committee member for health Lungiswa James said Law Enforcement officers did not have authority to close the club. “But after legal proceedings have been finalised they will be able to. They are in consultation with legal services and the process has begun. Documentation has been submitted to the City’s legal section to summons the owner for trading without a Health and Entertainment Licence, which is a contravention of the Businesses Act of 1991,” he said. Mr James said while the club is operating without a licence, an application was made in December last year.

Mr James said that the application was made on behalf of a company known as Business Zone 983CC. According to the Government Gazette of November 2011, in the legal notices section, Mark Roy Lifman is listed as a member of Business Zone 983CC. Mr James said the City’s Health Department had received three complaints regarding The Loop nightclub and said two fines totalling R3 000 had been issued for operating without a licence. “The health department went to inspect the premises and issued the first fine in December. Documentation has also been submitted to legal services requesting that this matter be taken to court,” he said.

“Owners need to apply for a business licence to operate a nightclub. In order for the licence to be approved they need to provide a criminal clearance obtainable from the South African Police, the premises need to be properly zoned and sound-proofed, and would have to comply with relevant fire and building legislation. Once all the necessary line departments have indicated compliance with relevant legislation, a report is generated to the applicable sub-council with a recommendation to approve the business licence. Any nightclub would also have to have a valid Liquor Licence issued by the South African Police”.

Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) convenor Byron Qually said this was not the first time that residents living the area had opted to move because of noise battles with nightclubs. “Last year Long Street residents, who had lived in an apartment for over 20 years, left because of unresolved nightclub noise and intimidation from the nightclub. We know other residents who would like to leave the city, but are unable to due to family arrangements and financial limitations,” he said. Mr Qually said residents have become increasingly frustrated with noise pollution and have started to question City officials who, he said, seemed ill-equipped to deal with noisy clubs that were contravening by-laws.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.

Unlicensed night-club, and residents who fear victimisation …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 19th January 2012

While residents and night-clubs in the CBD continue their fight over excessive noise, The Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) has launched a scathing attack on City officials claiming they are ill-equipped to deal with noise contraventions. The statements were made after the association tried to assist Pepper Street residents who raised concerns about The Loop nightclub which, they said, was operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence and causing a noise nuisance. The CapeTowner was contacted in December last year by residents complaining about the noise. However, all the residents refused to be named because they said they were afraid of victimisation.

LSRA convenor Byron Qually said the first complaint was received on Monday December 19. “We received reports that The Loop was playing music ‘beyond excessive’ every night until after 4am, and is operating without an entertainment licence. “We reassured residents that their concern is by no means isolated, and that it forms part of an ongoing battle with the City Environmental Health Department over the last three years about noise pollution. “We gave them practical advice and told them who in local government would be able to take their concerns further, in an attempt to save them time in navigating a very confusing City structure,” Mr Qually said.

City media manager Kylie Hatton confirmed that the club was operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence. She said an application was made on Wednesday December 21 after the club had been fined. “The licence has not yet been finalised as comments are still awaited from all reporting departments. The City’s health department received three complaints in December,” she said. Ms Hatton also said that affidavits have been submitted to the legal department on Thursday December 29, for a summons to be issued to the owners of the nightclub to appear in court for operating without a licence.

Vaughan Cragg, general manager of The Loop, said the club’s management was fulfilling the requirements for the nightclub to be licensed. “We applied for our business and entertainment licences before we opened. It is well known that it takes time to apply for a licence. Various people have to come inspect the club, and if there are problems, they advise us, the problem is rectified and they come to inspect again,” he said. “Having plans approved takes the longest. We are aware of the requirements. I used to manage Joburg Bar and the Dubliner in Long Street, and had to go through the same process.

“Many bars in Long Street are yet to get their business or entertainment licences,” Mr Cragg said. He told the CapeTowner the only complaint he was aware of was when a man approached him on opening night about excessive noise and he had been dealing with authorities since then. He said the club had installed soundproofing and was operating on a temporary liquor licence. Mr Cragg said that the club was owned by The Business Zone 963cc. In December, the CapeTowner was invited to attend the media launch of The Loop. The public relations company said the club was owned by Gareth Botha, Wai-Szee Sing and Mark Lifman.

Mr Qually said since the LSRA started to assist residents with complaints about The Loop, there have been several emails between city officials and the association about noise issues. “Some of our concerns include that the City’s Environmental Health Department systems are outdated and out of tune with the rate of CBD urbanisation, the requirements of city developers and lack of strategic insight; and willingness to hide behind bureaucratic confusion. “In our correspondence with the City, we unsurprisingly received the usual retroactive and bureaucratic response from them, inasmuch as they are concerned about the ‘scourge of unwanted noise’ in the CBD and would like to have a meeting to discuss it further. “We have not responded, partly due to complete frustration and disbelief that yet again another meeting is required, but also to do some background research on how other cities are assisting their residents in resolving noise pollution issues,” he said. Mr Qually said the City was well aware of residents’ frustrations at clubs operating without licences

Mayoral Committee Member for Health Lungiswa James said the majority of complaints received by the City’s Health Department from the CBD relate to the noise made by night-clubs. “Some unscrupulous or ignorant new owners trade without the necessary business licences and therefore without the required soundproofing installed or change sound systems when they take over the clubs. “As a result of this trend, since 2009 the health department has moved from being reactive in its response to noise complaints to proactively increasing the number of night-time visits to the CBD to identify premises as soon as possible after they open or change ownership. “The success of this strategy is confirmed by the increase in fines and court cases instituted by staff of the health department relating to unlicensed places of entertainment operating in the CBD.

“In 2008 four cases were recorded, 2009, 2010, and 2011 saw an average of 25 cases a year on record,” he said. Mr James said that as with any contravention, action can only be taken as dictated within the confines of the legislation. “In this regard the penal provisions of the National Businesses Act of 1991 are woefully inadequate 20 years after it was promulgated. “We have therefore formed close working relationships with the South African Police Service, Law Enforcement as well as the Legal Section so that noise complaints in the CBD are prioritised and contraventions of any legislation, not just the failure to licence the premises, are acted upon,” he said. Mr James said with the Cape Town City Improvement District a pamphlet was drawn up for distribution to residents explaining how to deal with noise in the CBD.

When asked whether residents who feared victimisation could make anonymous complaints, Mr James said: “The Loop is trading without the necessary licence. In this case, residents can stay anonymous when lodging a complaint and the details of any complainants are not provided to the courts or to the nightclub owners”. He said the Business Act did not make provision for the closure of unlicensed premises by officials and had to be authorised by a magistrate.

However, Mr Qually said one of the association’s biggest concerns was how the City measures the success of its noise interventions. “From a residential perspective, measurement of success is quite simple. Has the noise been reduced to an acceptable level? “The City on the other hand, provides various internal performance statistics to prove that they are doing their job. From the LSRA records, it is without a doubt that noise pollution and unlicensed clubs are on the increase regardless of the rate of fines and legal interventions,” he said.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.

There are also people urinating in the street and on the pavement around …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 14th January 2011

A group of businesses that includes pubs, clubs and restaurants in the city centre will be applying for an interdict to prevent the City of Cape Town from implementing the controversial Liquor Trading Hours By-law. The group has met with its lawyers and will be questioning the constitutionality of the by-law. The group known as the Club, Bar and Restaurant Association (CBRA) held a meeting at the Chrome nightclub last week to discuss the issues. Shaan Nordien, owner of Chrome nightclub, said although the association had made submissions and presentations during the comment period, it had not received a response from the City. Mr Nordien met with the association’s legal team on Monday January 10 to discuss the case. “Our lawyers believe we have a strong case and we will be handing a letter to the City soon highlighting the association’s intentions,” Mr Nordien said. He said the main concern of the association was the stipulated cutoff time, which will force all establishments to stop selling alcohol at 2am. He said this will lead to a reduction of trading hours for all establishments. “We are not against the regulation of liquor sales, but this by-law will kill the industry and lead to loss of jobs. We are all licensed establishments and have been operating for years. This is going to cost us millions of rand but we have the funds and we are going to fight this,” Mr Nordien said. He said the interdict would only protect the association’s members. “It is a blanket interdict and will protect all members and establishments who are part of the association, others will not be included,” he said. He said the association’s legal team had found several loop-holes in the by-law and would be proceeding with the application. He said the association would also be suing the City for loss of income following the announcement that the by-law would be enforced on New Year’s Eve.

In a statement released by the City on Tuesday December 28, Councillor Taki Amira, chairperson of the Liquor Policy task team, said that at midnight on New Year’s Eve the bylaw would come into effect. “This means that bars and clubs in business areas will have to close by 2am on Saturday January 1. Those watering holes in or close to residential areas, which may currently enjoy late trading hours, will have to abide by the new legislation and close by 11pm,” he said. However, on Thursday December 30 the City said the by-law would not be implemented immediately but would be “phased in”. “The City would like to allay fears of club and restaurant owners with regards to the enforcement of the City’s new Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-Law. “The by-law will be phased in over the next few months and will not be stringently enforced until all role players have been extensively educated and informed about the new legislation.”

City Safety and Security executive director Richard Bosman said during the initial implementation of the by-law the City’s law enforcement agencies will register complaints from the public and keep a record for future reference. “The City will also register and review the complaints of those affected by the by-law to see how these can best be addressed. “With the implementation of the new smoking regulations the approach taken by law enforcement was first education, support and warning during the initial phase. “This is the approach we will follow with this legislation as well,” Mr Bosman said. However, club owners claim the “damage had already been done” as the initial statement was widely published and deterred party goers from coming into the city.

Vusa Mazula, owner of Zula Sound Bar, said he was annoyed that the first statement was made. “It feels like the whole thing was engineered. How can the City make such a huge statement and then turn around and change its tune? “This by-law will not only have a negative impact on businesses in the city centre but will negatively impact on tourism. “Most party goers only come into the city at 11pm. The busiest time for most clubs is between 1am and 4am. By reducing the hours for the sale of liquor most establishments will effectively only have one hour of trading,” Mr Mazula said. He said the by-law would see businesses run at a loss and in his view clubs will have to implement staff cuts. Mr Amira confirmed that the association had made submissions to about the by-law, but said he was not informed of the letter. He said the by-law was modelled on the Liquor Bill and based on research conducted in other cities around the world.

And while clubs, pubs and restaurants are in a froth over the new by-law, residents have welcomed it. Siranne Ungerer said she hoped the implementation of the by-law would lead to less drunken behaviour and noise in Long Street “We experience noise from the drunken patrons leaving the clubs and pubs and we also have a lot of fights. There are also people urinating in the street and on the pavement around us. “We’ve had our windows broken four times in the last two years due to people fighting and then falling against them,” Ms Ungerer said. One resident, who asked not to be named as she was currently involved in a dispute with a club in Long Street, said she supported the by-law as she hoped it would help to reduce the nuisance caused by noisy party goers.

Piers Allen, who has been living in Long Street since 1997, said he “whole-heartedly” supported the by-law and hoped it would improve the quality of life for residents.“It is with increasing dismay that we have experienced the night-environment being taken over by raucous clubs and bars that have no regard whatsoever for residents or passersby. “We have been fighting a losing battle, together with others including hotels and hostelries, trying to gain the support and assistance of the City to control excessive public noise and nuisance, which arises from so many drinking venues and the excessive consumption of alcohol. “This community-minded effort has seemingly had little appreciable effect on officers of the council: on the contrary – things have worsened considerably over the last 14 years,” Mr Allen said.

In his blog, Constitutionally Speaking, constitutional law expert, Pierre de Vos labels the by-law as “reactionary, misguided and counter productive”. “It is reactionary because it is based on a Christian Nationalist attitude which assumes that we should all go to bed at 2am, that having access to alcohol in a public place after 2am would somehow turn us all into evil sinners and that God will punish us if we were allowed to buy liquor on a Sunday,” he said. The by-law was misguided, in that, “it assumes that if one prohibits the sale of liquor after 2am this will somehow address the scourge of alcoholism and drugs in our community. This is, of course, a completely irrational and mistaken assumption. “Anyone who had visited the United Kingdom at the time when all bars were forced to close at 11pm would know that earlier closing times for bars and pubs do not necessarily prevent people from getting very drunk and making fools of themselves. “There is no evidence to back up the assumptions underlying this by-law,” he said. CBRA members met at Chrome nightclub yesterday, Wednesday January 12, to further discuss the issue, but at the time of going to print the outcome of this meeting was not known.

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