Category Archives: License related

There’s a legal process that needs to be followed. At the moment …

From the Cape Times, by Caryn Dolley, 2nd March 2012

LEGAL proceedings are being instituted against a city night-club operating illegally. The Loop, on the corner of Loop and Pepper streets in the city centre – believed to be owned by Sea Point businessman Mark Lifman – opened in December last year and has been operating without the necessary licences ever since. Other business owners have also complained about the club, but said they would no longer be drawn into the fray as they had been intimidated as a result.

Lifman is presently involved in another court case regarding an unregistered security company which he funded. Yesterday, Lifman’s attorney, William Booth, said his client owned many properties and businesses, but could not say whether Lifman also owned The Loop. Local community newspaper The CapeTowner reported that it was invited to attend the media launch of The Loop last year. A public relations company said at the time that the club was owned by Lifman, along with Gareth Botha and WaiSzee Sing.

Richard Bosman, the city’s executive director of safety and security, confirmed that The Loop was operating illegally “It is true that the club has been operating without an entertainment licence. To date, two fines for operating without an entertainment licence have been issued to the manager of the club.” Bosman said members of the city’s health department initially inspected the club’s premises. The first fine was issued in December. “There’s a legal process that needs to be followed. At the moment, the law enforcement officers do not have the necessary authority to close the club,” he said. Bosnian said after legal proceedings had been finalised the officers would be able to close the club. “They are in consultation with the legal services and the process has begun,” he said.

Bosman said documentation had been submitted to the city’s legal department to summon the club’s owner for trading illegally. He said the club did, however, have a temporary liquor license. Several people employed at various businesses have recently raised their concerns with the Cape Times about operations at The Loop. All declined to be named for fear of their safety. Among concerns was the noise level generated by the club at night. Some said they had since been intimidated by the club’s bouncers and as a result had withdrawn from trying to get the club closed down. Bosnian urged anyone who felt threatened to contact the police. Tasso Evangelinos, chief operations officer of the Central City Improvement District (CCID), said they were aware of the concerns regarding The Loop and had forwarded these to the city.

Copyright belongs to the Cape Times.

Finally a bylaw comes into effect that can really help residents …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 2nd February 2012

Residents in the CBD have welcomed the news that an amendment to the Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisance By-law which allows the sound equipment at noisy clubs to be confiscated has now been promulgated. The amendment to the by-law was passed by the City’s Safety and Security Portfolio in March last year and promulgated in December.

City officials wasted no time in using the amendment and last week the Liquor Enforcement Unit issued a final notice on St Yves in Camps Bay and confiscated sound equipment at the nightclub on Monday January 23. “Following numerous complaints from the public about loud music being played, officers issued a notice in terms of the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisance By-Law. “In addition, the unit confiscated basic sound equipment used by the club including one amplifier, one speaker and two compact disc players. The equipment is valued at R15 000,” City officials said. However, CBD residents said they have been fighting noise battles for several years and hope the unit will soon hit Long Street and surrounding areas.

According to Richard Bosman, executive director for Safety and Security, a final notice was issued to the club before the equipment was confiscated. “As with this case, we issue a warning notice.and if it is not complied with, further action is taken – which may include confiscation of sound equipment,” he said. Mayoral committee member for health Lungiswa James said the city had received complaints about St Yves from nearby residents over 13 months. “City Health summonsed the club to court for noncompliance with the Businesses Act in May 2011. “The owner then submitted the required acoustic report and made changes to the premises so that it complied with the Noise Control Regulations. “This was verified by City Health and the case was withdrawn on Wednesday October 19. Subsequent complaints, inspections and further noise readings taken on Sunday December 25 showed that the sound system, which had been previously compliant, had been changed since it was assessed by City Health on Monday October 3. “This renders the previous acoustic reports submitted to the sub-council for consideration for licence approval void and a process to withdraw the business licence has been initiated,” he said.

Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) said while they welcomed the amendment, it was their view that if the health department had been effective and strategic in dealing with noise pollution the amendment would not be necessary. “However, if the amendment resolves the standoff between nightclubs and the Long Street community, we welcome it. “It is important to note that only specific nightclubs in the CBD are problematic, and are having an impact on neighbouring clubs that have installed effective sound dampening. “These problem nightclubs have brought the by-law amendment on all entertainment venues, due to their flat-out refusal to work with the communities that surround them, and ironically, in many cases even support them through patronage. “The most important benefit of the bylaw is that there should be no more unoriginal excuses from the health department and the officials dealing with noise that, “they are restricted by legal frameworks’. “Hopefully it will also take residents out of the trenches, and get behind City officials who can shield them from the real threat of victimisation,” Mr Qually said.

Most recently, some residents in the CBD claim they are facing a new type of noise. This they claim is coming from restaurants who have begun hosting gigs and live performances. Long Street resident Piers Allen wrote several letters to City officials raising his concerns about restaurants that are playing loud music. Mr Allen told the CapeTowner he first noticed this early in January. “The first event was stand-up comedy. My flat, and the block I live in, was bombarded with screaming, hysterical invective. “Even our security guard was at the end of his tether. “Other evenings it is loud music performance – amplified, all doors and windows wide open, amplification equipment practically out on the pavement. Intolerable,” he said. He said he had lodged formal complaints.

Mr James explained that the Business Act consisted of various categories, that deal with different types of businesses. “Restaurants must have a sale or supply of meals licence which indicates that the premises is suitable to sell or supply meals. If premises wish to have live bands performing, they must be in possession of an entertainment licence: cinema/theatre. “If loud music is played from a sound system and dancing occurs then the premises would have to apply for an entertainment licence: nightclub/discotheque. “In both instances soundproofing of the premises would be required,” he said.

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.

Understanding the law and how clubs operate without a license …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 15th August 2011

Business licences, trading hours and lack of enforcement were the topics of discussion when residents met with City officials to tackle noise battles in the CBD. The Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) requested a meeting with Councillor Dave Bryant and other roleplayers including the Central City Improvement District (CCID) to raise concerns about clubs trading without the necessary licences and causing a noise disturbance. LSRA convenor Byron Qually said after two years of complaints there was no longer a question about whether there was a noise problem. He asked why bars and nightclubs were allowed to continue operating without health and entertainment licences. He highlighted O’Driscoll’s Irish Pub in Burg Street, where the owner had been found guilty in court for causing a noise nuisance, but continued to operate.

Mr Bryant read a response given by health director, Dr Ivan Bromfield which said the City did not allow or condone business that operated without a licence despite being fined or convicted in court. “The law enforcers are, however, reliant on either successful noise level readings or affidavits from affected persons before the repeat offenders can be summonsed back to court,” Mr Bryant said. Good Hope Sub-council chairperson, Taki Amira, said many of the problems faced by the City were a result of the municipality being tasked with carrying out national legislation. “To start, we must note that in order to operate a nightclub, you need two things. A liquor licence and a health and entertainment licence. The issue is that the Business Act is national legislation and the sub-council cannot refuse applications if all the requirements are met. For instance, we receive applications for adult entertainment businesses and while we would like to reject them we can’t if they meet the requirements,” Mr Amira said. He said among the problems faced by the City was the granting of temporary liquor licences. “Once they have that they start operating. We contact law enforcement agencies who visit the premises to check if their paperwork is in order. When we find that they do not have the appropriate licences they are fined. In some cases this deters them from trading but in other cases this is petty cash for them,” he said.

CCID security manager, Muneeb Hendricks said one way in which residents could assist was by keeping an eye on liquor licence applications. “We conducted an ‘exploratory mission’ to take a look at the noise problem. “What we found is that it is often difficult to single out a club because of the ambient noise. We should look into the possibility of compiling a report for residents which looks at what they can do to help. This issue was also discussed in the Cape Town Central Community Police Forum Meeting (CPF) and it’s important to remember that residents can make objections to the Liquor Board in the granting of liquor licences to problem clubs,” he said. Burg Street resident Ashley Lillie said in his opinion the biggest problem was the lack of co-ordination between City departments dealing with noise issues. Residents also questioned the methodology used when conducting noise readings.

Geoff Madsen, one of the developers of Flatrock Suites in Loop Street said that when he first decided to develop the residential block which also consists of hotels suites he loved the idea of bars, pubs and clubs in the area. Mr Madsen invited the CapeTowner to hear the noise emanating from Chez Ntemba nightclub in August. During the visit, the CapeTowner witnessed the roof of the club lifting and heard heavy bass coming from the premises (“Noise raises the roof”, CapeTowner, August 11). “Our residents and guests support these establishments and we have no intention of closing them. All, we ask is for them to comply with the law. “Now we have to spend R2.5 million on soundproofing. We have been complaining for more than four years about a certain club and it seems our concerns have fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

Mr Bryant said that after assessing the problems faced by Mr Madsen he too had some concerns. “How can a building which has a tin roof provide any kind of soundproofing,” he asked. At the meeting residents and officials also discussed the possibility of accompanying officials from the City’s Health Department when noise readings are done in the CBD as well as the possibility of funding additional law enforcement officers to inspect clubs when complaints are received.

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

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

The following outlines the minutes taken by the LSRA at the aforementioned meeting:

Attendees: City: Councillor David Bryant and Subcouncil Chair Taki Amira
City Health Department: Lavinia Petersen and colleague
CCID: Mo Hendricks
CapeTowner: Monique Duval
LSRA: Approximately 10 individuals.

Document provided by the City Health Department on the LSRA questions:

Why are bars still able to operate knowingly without a license?

No answer provided.

Why are convicted bars owners allowed to continue with their illegal behaviour?

Some operators continue despite being fined or convicted in an court of law. The City does not allow or condone this type of behaviour. The law enforcers are, however, reliant on either successful noise level readings or affidavits from affected persons before the repeat offenders can be summonsed back to court.

Since 2009, what systems have the City Health Department introduced to assist residents with noise concerns?

The City enforces the Noise Control Regulations which allow for offenders to be fined in terms of exceeding the allowable noise limits and/ or to be summonsed to a court of law. The following systems are currently in place:
– Procedure for summonsing an alleged offender to court via the ‘noise nuisance” procedure in terms of the Noise Control Regulations. This procedure is based on affidavits from affected persons.
– Procedure for summonsing an offender to court when exceeding the noise limits – ‘causing a disturbing noise’. This procedure is based on successful noise level readings.
– Mandatory soundproofing via the Business licensing system.
– Arrangements for combined actions from various Departments are in place. Examples of these are where City Health with Law Enforcement or even SAPS. The CIDS are also included — especially on night-time surveys.
– Availability of staff in the Western district for night inspections increased from once every 6 weeks to every two weeks. This is especially useful where complainants do not want to provide affidavits.
– Increased the level of health court action against premises trading without business licences.
– Agreement reached that health would be informed of all complaints regarding noise that is received from the Call Centres. (Shannon and myself would receive and interrogate and forward as needed if action from City Health is needed – still in infancy and needs refinement as we have only received 6 complaints so far.)
– Regular meeting are held with all role-players involved in enforcement and legal actions where it relates to unlicensed business premises to enable better co-ordination and clear frames of reference.

Primary actions from the meeting:

– CCID and City: Exploring the option of a full time and dedicated sound task team, who are trained and authorised to intervene in noise disputes when they occur at night.
– City Health Department: To provide noise measurement test specifications, test procedure and acoustic report to the LSRA, and to invite members to a testing session.
– CCID: Provide a digital copy of their brochure on noise awareness to the LSRA for posting on the website.

He has had enough and can’t understand why City officials don’t take action …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 11th August 2011

Frustrated by a noisy club in Buiten Street, property developer, Geoff Madsen said he has had enough and can’t understand why City officials don’t take action. Mr Madsen is one of the developers of Flatrock Suites and said the Chez Ntemba nightclub continued to operate even though the City has confirmed that it is trading without a Health and Entertainment Licence. Mr Madsen said after he had taken Chez Ntemba to court for causing a noise nuisance it was instructed to close and fulfil the requirements set out by the City but it had failed to do so (“Noise battles continue”, CapeTowner, April 14).

The manager of the club had left and since then the noise had become unbearable. “When the manager, Lindi, left the noise became excessive. So one night I walked around the precinct from Joburg to Fiction to see where the noise was coming from. “One of the guys from Fiction took me to a room which overlooks Chez Ntemba and we could clearly hear that the noise was coming from there. “So I went to Chez Ntemba to try and sort it out. I was introduced to a man by the name of Serge who said he was the manager. “I took him and one of his DJs to my apartment to hear for themselves. “They said they would sort out the problem. However, the noise is now unbearable and I can’t find the manager anywhere. “The bass is so bad that I can’t even watch television from my couch without my whole body vibrating,” he said.

Mr Madsen said that like many other property developers he bought into the idea of developing the inner city to make it a great place to “live, play and work”, but he was worried that his investment was dwindling as many of the owners were now selling their apartments. “There are also hotel suites in the block and many guests check out in the early hours. Visitors have also been blogging about Flatrock Suites and the building is getting a bad reputation because people can’t sleep. “What makes it worse is that owners are selling their properties at 20% less than the market value,” he said. Last week Mr Madsen invited the CapeTowner to “experience” the noise.

The CapeTowner checked in on Friday August 5. The ambient sounds of nightclubs and cars passing by could be heard after 9pm; At 11pm, we could hear loud music and a DJ speaking but we could not pinpoint where the noise was coming from. We went into Buiten Street but there was no noise from Chez Ntemba. When we returned to the ninth floor apartment of Flatrock Suites loud music and bass could be heard from Chez Ntemba. The CapeTowner saw the roof of the club rattle along with the bass.

After two hours we called the Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) control room for assistance. The assistant said she would send a vehicle and later called back to say the official on the street could not hear any noise. When asked if a CCID vehicle which had a Law Enforcement Officer could see to the complaint, she said: “We only have one law enforcement officer and he is filling in a statement at Cape Town Central police station. We will send him when he is done”. The officer did not arrive. We then called the Metro Police for assistance and told the operator that the club did not have a licence. The operator said a vehicle would come soon. It did not arrive. The loud music and bass continued for most of the night and stopped shortly after 4.30am on Saturday August 6.

Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), said he has had numerous discussions with restaurateurs in the area adjacent to the nightclub. “They relate the arrival of exhausted and desperate residents who are battling to cope with sleepless nights caused by Chez Ntemba’s noise pollution,” he said. Mr Qually said the association was aware of similar cases where residents have left their apartments because of noisy clubs. “It is a great shame that two of the first LSRA members have been forced to leave their Long Street home of 14 years, due to the performance of their managing agent. “The agent allowed a night-club, Fatback Soulbar, to set up in the building without obtaining the required approval from their residents.

“Expectedly, noise pollution disrupted the residents’ sleep, and after a lengthy and public dispute, the LSRA members had to leave their homes because the excessive noise continued,” he said. Mr Qually said that in Victoria Court, the residential block in which he lives, he has seen property owners lose income because tenants terminated lease agreements due to nightclub noise. “Unfortunately this trend is increasing, and in some cases this is due to residents not having the legal resources to take a club or managing agent to court, but also as is becoming evident, the extremely slow moving and largely ineffective City’s Health Department, who just seem unable to mediate or resolve nightclub noise disputes,” he said.

In previous comment provided by the City, Health Director, Dr Ivan Bromfield said the club was fined R1 000 on October 7, 2007 (for causing a noise disturbance). “Thereafter the owner was summonsed to court in February 2008 without the option of an admission of guilt fine. “On August 21, 2008 the court closed the premises until Friday August 27, 2010 for compliance with the requirements as it related to the emission of noise,” he said. Dr Bromfield confirmed that the club does not have a Health and Entertainment Licence and said according to the department’s records the last application was made in 2007 but said it had since been withdrawn. “The City Health department cannot close any premises. “It is the the court’s decision,” Dr Bomfield said.

The CapeTowner has tried on several occasions to contact the club’s management for comment. The previous manager who is known only as Lindi said she no longer worked at the club and referred the CapeTowner to Tony Muller, the club’s general manager. The CapeTowner has tried to contact Mr Muller on several times but he had not responded to questions the CapeTowner emailed him. The CapeTowner also tried to find the new manager known as Serge, but was told by the doorman he was not there.

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

Dr Ivan Bromfield confirmed that the bar did not have a licence …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 2nd June 2011

A Long Street couple say they have had enough and are ready to move out because of the noise from Fatback Soul, a pub which has moved in beneath their flat (“Long Street noise ‘too much’”, CapeTowner, November 4). Christiane and Johan de Villiers expressed their anger at the opening of Fatback Soul, in the space below their flat in November last year and said they were not consulted. Mr De Villiers said the mixed used building initially comprised retail shops which operated during the day and caused no disturbance. The couple say they have been fighting a losing battle with the bar’s owner for several months and at one point even tried to make a deal which would require the bar owner to keep the noise down on Wednesdays and Thursdays and allowing him to play loud music on Fridays and Saturdays. But they claim this agreement has not been kept. Mr De Villiers said the noise was so bad they now spent every weekend to Botrivier where they own a cottage. “We drive almost 120 kilometres every week to Botrivier. We go so that we can some sleep.

The bar plays music loudly from Wednesdays to Saturdays and there is no consideration for residents.“Other residents in our block have also started to complain and we have been informed Trafalgar Properties who manages the block of what is happening. We have been fighting this tooth and nail and the endless nights of no sleep is starting to affect our work. I have lived in this flat for 17 years and I love Long Street, but this issue has been going on for so long that I just want to leave for good,” he said. Mr De Villiers said sleepless nights were affecting their health. “When we do call the police and Central City Improvement District (CCID) with a complaint, the noise is reduced for a short while then turned up even higher, and the cleaning and locking up suddenly includes slamming doors and throwing bottles out in to the open courtyard ( the stairwell next to the bedroom windows of the two bottom flats), as well as repeating hooting when the owner and staff leave the premises,” Mrs De Villiers said.

Bar owner, Jeremy Phillips insisted that the establishment was not a nightclub but a bar with background music. Mr Phillips said he usually had a DJ playing and changing the music but said it was a bar. He said while people often danced there was no dance floor and the establishment was not a club. “We don’t play loud music. When police and the CCID do come out and respond to complaints, I invite them in and they always say they can’t see a problem. I am not here to piss people off, I am here to run a respectable business,” he said. Mr Phillips confirmed the agreement and said he was “sticking to it”. When asked whether he had a Health and Entertainment Licence, Mr Phillips said while it had been approved, he was told due to the elections he would only receive the documentation in August.

City Health Director, Dr Ivan Bromfield confirmed that the bar did not have a licence and said an application was first received in October last year. He said they first received noise complaints from Mrs De Villiers in November. Mrs De Villiers also said the City had taken the bar’s owner to court for trading without a licence. Dr Bromfield said: “ A written warning was issued on Monday October 25 in terms of the Noise Control Regulations. Noise level readings were attempted on Friday November 12 but no noise outbreak could be found. Noise level readings were again scheduled for Thursday November 18 but cancelled by the complainant as there was no significant noise outbreak. “On Friday December 17, noise level readings were taken from the complainant’s flat but no significant noise outbreak could be found. Council received a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) from FatBack Soul on Monday December 20. “This NIA was rejected by the City due to fact that the survey was not done from the complainant’s premises. “A new NIA was called for but none has been received. The complaint has since been dealt with as a noise nuisance.”

While there are several clubs operating in the CBD, the CapeTowner asked City Health Director, Dr Ivan Bromfield, about the licences of these clubs.

Q. How many nightclubs are currently operating in the CBD?

A. City Health is aware of 28 premises that operate as nightclubs in the CBD.

Q. How many of them have Health and Entertainment Licences?

A. Seven of these premises have been licensed as a place of entertainment: nightclub or discotheque.

Q. How many clubs has the City taken to court in the past year for operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence?

A. The City’s Health department has taken the owners of 19 night-club premises to court for trading without a licence between May 1, 2010 and May 30 2011.

Q. How many clubs has the city taken to court in the past year for causing a noise nuisance and contravening the bylaw?

A. Of the 19 premises, three were charged with contravening both Businesses Act as well the Noise Control Regulations.

Q. If a club owner makes an application for a Health Licence and is waiting for it to be approved or rejected, are these clubs allowed to operate in the meantime? Can you please explain the reasons for this?

A. Section 2.33 of the Businesses Act stipulates that no person shall carry on a business which needs to be licensed in terms of the Act without such licence.

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

Assembly in the area but they obey the law and have spent a lot of money …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 26th May 2011

Following months of complaints about noise, a night-club which operates from a courtyard in Darling Street has become the centre of controversy while the City waits for a court date when it will try to stop Distrix Café from operating. A Caledon Street resident, who only identified himself as E Barnard, said he and his wife were constantly affected by the noise emanating from Distrix Café and said he was shocked to find that it was operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence. “We can’t even watch television in our lounge on Sundays and though our home is quite a distance away, the noise from the parties is unbearable. “The City is aware that the club is operating without the necessary licences so it really is frustrating,” said Mr Barnard who did not want to give his first name for fear of victimisation. Mr Barnard submitted a letter to the City’s health department highlighting his concerns and asking for action against the club. “The noise starts on Sundays in the late afternoons when most people are relaxing before the working week. “When the noise starts we phone the police but it doesn’t help as the music just keeps on until late in the evening and now it is happening on Fridays as well. “There are many night clubs in the surrounding area but none of them is as bad as Distrix Cafe,” he claimed.

Another resident who asked not to be named also raised his concerns with former ward councillor Belinda Walker. In his letter, he said the club repeatedly blasted loud music from its courtyard with total disrespect for the neighbourhood or the soundproof requirements for pubs and clubs, as required by the local authority. “They place their sound equipment in the open courtyard adjacent to their pub and blast their music during the week nights until the early hours of the morning and now lately starting early on Sunday afternoons until late at night. “How can we sleep? The immediate area consists mainly of accommodation and residential establishments,” he said. The resident said the health department asked if they could take noise readings inside his home.“I refused because the club is operating without a licence, so why does the city need noise readings to prove the owner is breaking the law. He is already doing so by operating without a licence,” he said. Mr Barnard said residents were not opposed to clubs in the area but said they needed to adhere to the by-laws. “There are many clubs including The Assembly in the area but they obey the law and have spent a lot of money on soundproofing but others just don’t care. All we want is for them to adhere to the law and soundproof their premises and not cause an inconvenience to their neighbours,” Mr Barnard said.

Richard Luff, the maintenance manager of the Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereeniging (ACVV) frail care centre which is situated behind Distrix Café said he had on several occasions called the Metro Police to see to the problem. “There isn’t noise every weekend but when there are parties, the music is very loud and our patients have difficulty sleeping,” he said. City executive director for health, Dr Ivan Bromfield confirmed that the City had received noise complaints about Distrix Café from residents. “The first complaint was received in September 2010. We instituted action, and in November 2010 the complainant contacted City Health to inform staff that the noise had ceased. But then two more complaints were received in March about loud music from Distrix Café,” he said. Dr Bromfield confirmed that the club was operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence and said that so far it has not applied for one. “A written warning, cease order and a fine was issued in November 2010. When new complaints were received in 2011, documentation was submitted to the City’s Legal Section so that the owner can be summonsed straight to court without the benefit of an admission of guilt fine. We are currently awaiting a court date,” Dr Bromfield said. When asked why the City didn’t close down clubs which were operating without the necessary licences, Dr Bromfield said: “Only a court of law has the authority to close premises for trading without the appropriate business licence. “To this end, all the necessary documentation has been submitted and we are awaiting a court date.

The owner of the building has also told City Health that the tenant does not have the authority to be in the building and an eviction order has been requested from the state attorney.” Shawn Heinrich, the owner of Distrix Café said he was in an eviction battle with the Department of Public Works which owns the building. He said he was sub-letting from the original lessee whom he claims did not inform him of the department’s intentions. “When I took over the lease, I was not informed that he was in an eviction battle with the department. Now we cannot apply for the necessary licences because we don’t have the lease papers,” he said Mr Heinrich admitted to operating without a licence but said once the confusion regarding the lease of the building was sorted he would apply for the necessary licences. He is operating with a temporary liquor licence. “This space has helped to bring people from all over Cape Town into the area. We attract an international crowd. “I feel we are constructively being broken down by the city. We have taken a derelict building that has been empty for years. We have a filthy parking lot which homeless people have made their home. When our patrons leave at night and if we don’t have security, they get robbed in the parking lot. There is dirt all around. This is the entry point to the city but everything around us is dirty. “I feel I have invested a lot of time and intellectual property into these premises,” Mr Heinrich said. Residents complained that the club advertised a party on Sunday May 21 and they said the music was unbearable.

Mr Heinrich confirmed that the event was held and said he was aware that the City is now taking his business to court. When asked why he continued to trade without a licence and why he ignored residents complaints Mr Heinrich said he had invested a lot in the business and if it closes “we will lose our brand”. However Dr Bromfield said copies of lease agreements are not required to process applications for Health and Entertainment licences. “Irrespective of who owns the building, the Businesses Act holds the ‘person in actual or effective control of the business’ responsible for complying with the requirements,” he said. Dr Bromfield said other documentation needed included a noise impact assessment and a noise management plan from an accredited acoustic engineer. “Any soundproofing measures must be certified by the acoustic engineer and must be installed to the satisfaction of the City. The premises must be adequately ventilated in terms of the National Building Regulations.”

● The CapeTowner contacted the Department of Public Works for comment regarding the lease but at the time of going to print, they had not yet responded.

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

Whilst no targets have been set, the number of film permits issued by …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 12th May 2011

Following weeks of road closures and complaints from residents about filming in the CBD. The CapeTowner asked Terence Isaacs, Head of the Cape Town Film and Permits Offices (CTFPO) to explain the process.

Q. How do film companies apply for a permit?

A. A standard application form is to be completed and submitted to the CTFPO before the planned film shoot indicating the type of filming, size of the area, location, use of parking bays, or any of the service departments like the Traffic or Fire Department must be provided.

Q. What are the basic requirements they need to fulfil?

A. Before the film company can apply for the film permit they need to be registered with the Film Office and the City as a business partner. They need to complete an annual indemnity form and provide proof of public liability insurance prior to the approval of any film permit application.

Q. How do these requirements differ from big film shoots to the smaller ones?

A. The basic requirements are applicable to all production companies.

Q. Who do residents contact if they have concerns about a planned shoot?

A. Residents can call the CTFPO on 021 483 9066 or me on 084 9000 146 and the Metro Control 021 596 1999. Resolution will vary depending on the nature of the concern.

Q. What happens when residents have complaints about a shoot that has taken place, do they contact the film office? If so, how does the film office go about addressing the problem and how does the film office ensure that film companies stick to the conditions of their permit. If not, why not?

A. Residents can contact the CTFPO, myself or Arafat Davids on 084 3000 057 and again the resolution will depend on the nature of the complaint. The CTFPO in addition to random monitoring of film shoots, will also target specific film shoots, due to either size, impact or sensitivity of location. The CTFPO also monitors production companies that may have previously given cause for concern.

Q. What happens when film companies contravene the conditions of their permit?

A. Permits can be revoked and the filming ceased immediately. Companies may also be fined If any municipal by-law or national regulations are transgressed.

Q. Does the film office ban them from filming in the city in the future? If so, are records of these contraventions kept. If not, why not?

A. In terms of the current filming by-law and policy this is not an option and such action could possibly be open to legal challenge.

Q. Why was the decision taken to waive film fees for filming in the city?

A. The City does not charge any location fee for filming on public streets, public spaces and most City-owned locations. This decision was taken as an incentive to market and promote the City as attractive destination for filming and in so doing to stimulate the local economy through increased opportunities for both local production companies and the host of subsidiary industries that support film-making in the City. The City however does charge for the services it provides such as traffic services, parking, etc.

Q. If filming in the city is free, has this decision seen more companies filming in the city? What indication is there that the targets set have been met?

A. Whilst no targets have been set, the number of film permits issued by the CTFPO over the last five years has been fairly consistent despite the global financial crisis. It should be noted that the CTFPO only issues permits for film-related activity on public property and roads within the CCT area. Permits for filming on private land/property or for example SANparks areas are not issued by the CTFPO. The economic impact could thus be much higher. From 2009 to 2010 4 926 film permits were issued.

Q. Previous claims by City officials have been that filming boosts the local economy. How is this economic boost quantified? How are the actual figures given calculated?

A. Economic impact assessments have been commissioned by the Cape Film Commission. They could be contacted for the latest assessment.

Q. Has research been done about the amount of money brought into the city by filming versus the inconvenience caused to city residents?

A. How has the inconvenience caused to city residents been quantified and verified?

Q. Currently film companies are responsible for informing residents of their intentions to film, how does the film office ensure that the film companies have done so?

A. Film Companies are required to provide copies of their letter drops, concurrency forms and indicate the extent of the communications undertaken.

Q. Who is responsible for granting permission to film companies to close down public streets when filming?

A. The Director of Roads and Stormwater issues certificates of closure. Permission is granted on the basis of duration, impact, and for full closures of certain key roads, the production of an acceptable traffic management plan.

Q. Are film companies required to reimburse residents and business for inconvenience caused during filming? If so, who monitors the amounts of money given to each resident or business owner? If not, why not?

A. The City does not support the notion of making “inconvenience payments” as this is tantamount to a hidden cost of doing business in the City and will negate the efforts to make the city a transparent, film-friendly destination. The City rather recommends that production companies support local businesses and source local labour, artisans and service providers.

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

When asked to see their Health and Entertainment licence, the manager said …

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

Although noisy establishments in the Long Street precinct annoy residents, property developer Geoff Madsen believes a balance is achievable. Mr Madsen is one of the developers of FlatRock situated on the corners of Loop and Buiten streets. The building now consists of apartments as well as hotel suites which make up the 45 units in the building. He raised concerns about the Chez Ntemba nightclub which he said had no sound-proofing and continued to bother residents and hotel guests in FlatRock.

When the club first opened, Mr Madsen approached the owners and informed them of the noise and he said they agreed to turn the volume down. “We started to see a general degradation of the area. People would leave the club in the early hours of the morning and were drunk and fighting. “We approached the City about the issue as we could we see that the club’s roof was made of corrugated iron which meant there was no sound-proofing. “We now find that hotel guests are checking out in the early hours of the morning due to excessive noise,” Mr Madsen said.

He said residents had been in a four-year battle with the club trying to get them to comply with the law. Mr Madsen said an official from the City’s health department followed up the complaints and did decibel readings. However, Mr Madsen said they weren’t accurate as the club managers were aware they were being monitored. “The official stood across the road and gave the signal for the DJ to start playing the music, I told him the reading was unfair as the managers were aware of what was taking place. “I told him to come back when they didn’t know he was there to get a proper idea of the sound. Mr Madsen invited the CapeTowner to experience the noise, however, on Saturday April 9 at 11pm, there was no music playing as people had not yet arrived. “If every night was like this then I would be the happiest guy in the world, but at about 2am you will start to see the roof shaking,” he said. Mr Madsen said residents in the city centre often supported surrounding establishments and they were not in the business of closing noisy establishments. “We want them to be willing to talk about the issues and to abide by the law. “Right now they have a complete disregard for the charm of Long Street and don’t add any value to the precinct,” he said.

Andrew Rissik, chairman of the body corporate and a shareholder in FlatRock suites said he has had enough of noisy clubs who don’t comply with the City’s by-laws. He said property owners paid exorbitant rates for buildings in the precinct, which then lose their value as residents opt to sell because they cannot sleep. He said they have spent about R30 000 on double glazing some of the apartments windows but it has done little to drown out the bass emanating from the club. “We have no problem with nightclubs in the area. They are part of the charm of the precinct. Our problem is with the club owners who don’t abide by the law and the lack of action by the City. “Nowhere in the civilised world would you see a club without sound-proofing playing loud music until 4.30am,” he said.

The CapeTowner approached Chez Ntemba and spoke to the manager who refused to be named. She said the noise had not come from the club as it was soundproofed. The noise, she said, came from the surrounding clubs which played music on their balconies. “The club has been soundproofed since 2008. “Prior to that the residents took us to court and we had to sound-proof it. We have even closed the top floor because the roof rattles,” she said. When the CapeTowner asked to see their Health and Entertainment licence, the manager said she did not know where to find it but said the club had received one after being sound-proofed. She referred the CapeTowner to the club’s lawyer and said she could no longer comment on the matter. The CapeTowner called the law firm Chrisfick and Associates but was informed that they no longer represented the club. The club’s general manager, Tony Muller, refused to answer any questions.

City Director of Health, Dr Ivan Bromfield said according to their records there is an application from Chez Ntemba for a Health and Entertainment Licence, however, it has not been issued as there are still outstanding requirements relating to the submission of plans for the ventilation systems. Dr Bromfield said complaints were first received in October 2007. and when they were investigated it was found that the noise was causing a disturbance. “The club was fined R1 000 on October 7, 2007 (for causing a noise disturbance). “Thereafter the owner was summoned to court in February 2008 without the option of an admission of guilt fine. “On August 21, 2008 the court closed the premises until Friday August 27, 2010 for compliance with the requirements as it related to the emission of noise. When asked if club owners were informed when noise readings were conducted Dr Bromfield said: “ Normally, alleged offenders are not notified of the City’s intentions to do noise surveys for purposes of prosecution. In the case of a Noise Impact Assessment evaluation, however, the building structure is checked against maximum output of the amplifiers – it would then be normal to involve the owner or DJ.”

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

When the Metro Police were trying to issue a fine, Mr Dunne refused to give …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 31st March 2011

An irate Burg Street resident is so fed up with a noisy pub in her street that she has resorted to all sorts of desperate measures to get the owners to turn down the volume including calling Mayco member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith for help. Quahnita Samie said the O’Driscoll’s Irish Pub and Restaurant on the corner of Hout and Burg streets caused a disturbance on St Patrick’s Day (Thursday March 17).

She said the pub continues to play loud music even though the City has taken the owner to court for being a noise nuisance and trading without a Health and Entertainment licence. She claimed that owner Alan Dunne and his girlfriend Zelda Holtzman, former Western Cape deputy provincial police commissioner, were interfering with police officers and stopping them from taking action. “I have a letter from the City which clearly states that the pub’s owner does not have the relevant licence and it is not allowed to play loud music, but Ms Holtzman kept interfering and telling officers they had a licence,” she said. She said after calling various police agencies including law enforcement, Metro Police and SAPS she became fed-up after not receiving any help.

Ms Samie said out of desperation she called Mr Smith in the early hours of the morning for assistance. “When I phoned him, he told me about the public places and the prevention of noise nuisance by-law and the proposed amendments which will allow City officials to impound the sound equipment of noisy pubs, clubs and restaurants. He seemed unable to assist so I decided to leave my home for the evening,” she said. However, Mr Smith arrived at Burg Street to see for himself, but by then Ms Samie had already left. Mr Smith said he arrived at the pub and tried to speak to the owner.“There was an obvious noise disturbance, I have never been to the pub before but I could hear the music from Strand Street,” he said.

Mr Smith said he called the Metro Police for assistance and tried to speak to the owner. He said an argument started between himself and Mr Dunne, who he said was “belligerent, aggressive and unpleasant”. “He stood for 30 minutes just insulting me. When the Metro Police were trying to issue a fine, Mr Dunne refused to give his name. He continued to argue with me and I tried to explain that because he had no noise abatement he was breaking the law and causing a nuisance to residents. He said that only one resident had complained but I informed him that it didn’t matter how many residents complained the point is the pub was breaking the law,” Mr Smith said.

When asked whether he could confirm Ms Samie’s allegations that Ms Holtzman was interfering, Mr Smith said: “She was definitely interceding by giving officers inaccurate information. “I had to continually refer them to their fine books showing them that the pub was in fact breaking the law and it needed to be fined.” However, Mr Dunne has denied all the allegations and said the pub was a respectable and quiet establishment. He said he was not aggressive towards Mr Smith and said in his opinion the Metro Police were bullied into issuing a fine. “Mr Smith came in here as if he was the chief of police. I later learned that he was a councillor and an Alderman,” Mr Dunne said. Mr Dunne confirmed that he was in a relationship with Ms Holtzman but denied that she interfered by giving Metro Police officers inaccurate information. “There were no grounds for police to take action as the bar was not transgressing any law so no, she did not interfere,” he said.

However, Mr Smith said he responded to the complaint to observe whether or not the allegations made by Ms Samie were true. He said Metro Police officers issued a fine based on the fact that the music could be heard outside the venue. Complaints Last year, Ms Samie spoke out about how she was affected by the noise (“Pub refuses to cork it”, CapeTowner, November 11). Ms Samie made several complaints to the City’s health department and has submitted affidavits. She first moved to the area in June 2009. She said the noise was unbearable and first raised her concerns with City officials in November 2009.

Executive director for the City’s health department Dr Ivan Bromfield said his department received the first complaint in 2009 and a warning letter was issued to the pub stating that they are trading without an appropriate health and entertainment business licence as required by the Businesses Act of 1991 and that they should apply for the necessary licence. The CapeTowner contacted the pub for comment at the time but the previous manager, who only identified herself as Claire, said she would see if she could get a response from the owner, Alan Dunne. No response was received.

Ms Samie is now a witness in this court case but said she was having trouble getting law enforcement agencies to help on St Patrick’s Day. The licence Mr Dunne said the pub first opened its doors in December 2006 and at that time it was known as Catu Irish Pub. The name was changed as he felt it was too cryptic and said the public weren’t aware that it was an Irish Pub and said he was the single owner. He said the first time he received noise complaints was when Ms Samie moved into the area. He said he did not apply for a health and entertainment licence as he had a liquor licence which shows he can play loud and live music as long as it did not cause a nuisance or disturbance to the neighbours. “I have to state, however, that it is an alleged noise, we have never had a problem with noise,” he said. He said his licence made provision for loud noise. Mr Dunne said he was informed that he needed to apply for a health and entertainment licence but said it applied only to establishments that play live music. He said he had applied for a health and entertainment licence but never followed it up as in his opinion it referred to live music and said the pub didn’t really have live bands performing.

However, on St Patrick’s Day when Ms Samie and Mr Smith alleged the incident occurred, the pub had a live band playing. Mr Dunne said he was being harassed by Ms Samie who he said made several calls to police officers and then accused them of not doing their job. He said the pub was only issued with fines after she accused them of not doing their job. When asked if it was his view that the pub was being fined because it was causing a noise nuisance, Mr Dunne said: “Absolutely not, there are occasions like St Patrick’s Day which is celebrated all over the world. And there is noise but not the kind of noise that causes a disturbance. Police have to respond to a complaint. It got to the point on St Patrick’s Day when people were on the street, but were moved inside and the police were happy. “But Ms Samie was not pleased and called the police again and another van arrived.”

In November Dr Ivan Bromfield confirmed that the pub was trading without a health and entertainment license. He said the City received complaints from Ms Samie. The matter was investigated and a warning letter was issued to the pub informing the owner that it was trading without the necessary licence. He said all premises keeping or conducting a night club or discothèque are required, in terms of the Business Act, to apply for the necessary health and entertainment licence. When asked what requirements establishments needed to fulfil before the licence can be issued, Dr Bromfield said: “A noise impact assessment and a noise management plan must be submitted to the City. These reports, compiled by an accredited acoustic engineer, must be to the satisfaction of the City. Any soundproofing measures, required by such reports, must be implemented and certified by the engineer and must be finally installed to the satisfaction of the City”.

Mr Dunne said he did not have to apply for a health and entertainment licence as the pub did not have live bands playing. Dr Bromfield said that all premises where live music, bands and shows took place needed to be in possession of a business licence issued by a licensing authority such as the City. “A licence issued by the Liquor Board is not done in terms of this Act and does not exclude any business from complying with the conditions contemplated in terms of the Business Act,” Mr Bromfield said. He said the City had received two noise impact assessment reports from the pub, but both were rejected due to non-compliance. Dr Bromfield said since the last report, the case has been postponed three times and the next court date is scheduled for Thursday, May 19.

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