Category Archives: Noise related

“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

Creating a pedestrian-friendly zone in Long Street is not a new idea

From the Peoples Post, by Nicole McCain, 27th August 2013

After the Good Hope Subcouncil accepted a motion from ward councillor Dave Bryant to make a section of Long Street a pedestrian friendly zone, some, with previous failed attempts in mind, are asking if the idea will this time get off the ground. The proposal suggests closing the section between Wale and Watson streets, allowing only delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles and MyCiTi buses to travel this stretch.

Almost eight years ago, property development firm Indigo Properties funded a proposal to close the street over the weekend through drop down booms in an attempt to create a nightlife hub. However, this was never approved by the City of Cape Town, after an investment of thousands of Rands by Indigo and the approval of the property owners. Former ward councillor Belinda Walker did not disagree with the proposal but says she was concerned about the impact the pedestrianising of Long Street would have on traffic. “It is important to note that this proposal was received long before the MyCiTi bus system was conceptualised,” she says.

Two years ago, rumours surfaced that the road would be closed off, but at the time council had not received any proposals. At the time, the Long Street Residents’ Association did a survey of its members. The survey found residents were evenly divided on the matter, and residents still remain so. “I doubt it will happen,” says Long Street pedestrian Matthew Tyler. “It’s a busy road and it would be nice, but it will just attract more problems. Having more tourists in the area will attract issues like drug dealing and begging.”

Indigo Properties still strongly supports the pedestrianisation, says spokesperson Daisy Dickinson. “We feel strongly that it will enhance the patron experience in the area, improve road crossing safety due to decreased traffic congestion and enhance foot traffic which will therefore have a positive effect on the businesses in the area. We feel it would have an immensely positive impact on the area, businesses and ultimately the tourism industry of Cape Town as a whole,” she says.

Long Street resident Randall Wyngaard is also in favour of the pedestrianisation. “Having traffic takes away from the air of the place. It would allow shops to display their goods on the pavement. It’s nice to walk down the street. You don’t need cars here.” However, he has his doubts that the new form of public transport is the solution. “MyCiTi buses is not a factor. It doesn’t alleviate the congestion, it just causes more.” Byron Qually, the association’s chairperson, says the discussion around closing the road to vehicles has been going on for some time. He says the closure has never taken place because the “issue becomes quite polarised”.

However, Bryant believes this is the right time to introduce the pedestrian zone. “The central city is constantly changing and improving. There have also been many significant shifts in the urban environment as a result of refurbishments done in the run up to the 2010 World Cup,” he says. “Waterkant Street and St George’s Mall were certainly much more ambitious proposals and they have worked incredibly well.” The MyCiTi bus system has also made the motion more feasible, Bryant says.

“The roll out of the MyCiTi bus system over the past few years has also changed the way that we use the central city. There is now a MyCiTi route running down Long Street and there has been a steady increase in the number of people using bicycles and skateboards to get around town. This combined with all the other vehicular traffic is creating an extremely dense thoroughfare at the top of Long Street.” The motions will now be considered by the transport department for further comments. If these are positive, says Bryant, a plan will be put together for public comment.

“In the meantime the possibility exists for one or two temporary closures either in evenings or over weekends,” he says.

Copyright The People’s Post, Media24

Long Street to be paved?

From the Cape Argus, by Anél Lewis
, 20th August 2013

Cape Town – Bustling Long Street may soon become a pedestrian’s paradise if the City of Cape Town approves a proposal to close off a substantial section of the road to general traffic. The Good Hope Subcouncil, that includes the CBD, has approved a motion to turn the top half of Long Street from Watson Street to Wale Street into a permanent “fan walk”.

Councillor Dave Bryant, who made the proposal, said service delivery vehicles would still have access during set hours, and emergency vehicles and the MyCiTi buses would still be able to drive along the road. “It has been looked at a number of times. The central city is changing every day with new businesses opening, improved public transport and more pedestrians.” In his explanation to the sub-council, Bryant said it was becoming increasingly difficult for law enforcement to take action against vehicles that blocked traffic in Long Street.

The police had complained that their law enforcement activities were being affected by delivery vehicles and stationary cars. “This is combined with a very large number of pedestrians who mingle in and out of the traffic. In the evenings the pedestrians are inebriated which makes the situation even more dangerous.” Bryant said he was aware of concerns that the street was used by many vehicles, including those doing deliveries, so there would be a dedicated lane for those, as in St George’s Mall. Bryant said there was “overwhelming” sentiment from law enforcement agencies, community organisations and others to restrict vehicle access in this section of Long Street.

Tasso Evangelinos, chief operating officer of the Central City Improvement District, said: “The effect it will have on making the central city more pedestrian-friendly would be an extremely positive move.” He said the continued access for MyCiTi buses would further promote public transport. “As far as we know, the idea has been on the cards in one form or another since the 2010 World Cup, when the whole of Cape Town saw the enormous success of road closures that created amazing public spaces through which people moved freely and safely.” But he added that by closing off the road, the city would be creating a new public space that would need to be properly managed. “The resources therefore must be provided to ensure a clean, safe and secure environment.”

Most of the activity in Long Street, already established as an entertainment destination, was managed indoors and usually between the hours of 11pm and 4am. “… this activity may now well spill out onto the streets, so adequate resources to manage this will be critical in terms of keeping people safe, cleaning the area after each night’s activities and enforcing the laws and by-laws.”

Two years ago the Long Street Residents’ Association did a survey of its members. Although most supported the idea, many were concerned that patrons of nightspots would spill on to the street, treating the area as an “open-air nightclub”. A Bree Street resident said closing a major arterial road such as Long Street would exacerbate traffic congestion in the city. It was suggested that vehicle access be limited to certain hours. The proposal will now be referred to the executive directors of transport, economic development, environment and spatial planning and safety and security.

One of the recommendations is that “from the outset” the process of deciding on Long Street’s access will include input and participation from the local community and those who will be affected.

Copyright The Cape Argus

Missing characters in City management?

From the Cape Argus, by Monique Duval
, 4th February 2013

Long Street is the centre of Cape Town’s nightlife but noise issues are turning nightclub and hotel owners against each other. At a meeting hosted at the Pepper Club hotel this week to discuss noise in the Long Street area, Bettie Leedo from the city’s Health Department said they were looking at a new by-law to counter problems faced by the municipality in licensing nightclubs under the Business Act.

The meeting, attended by city officials, the Western Cape Liquor Authority, property developers, residents and nightclub owners, erupted in heated debate over the noise, with some bar owners accusing developers of not researching the area before building hotels. But developers and property owners hit back, saying many of them had spent millions investing in the area and were not prepared to sit back and let their investments slide.

Lawyer Derek Wille, who represents the Pepper Club, said his client was losing millions of rand as guests often checked out or demanded refunds as they could not get sleep over weekends. Leedo said under the Business Act the city could not close clubs that traded without the necessary licences and instead took legal action through the municipal courts. “This is a lengthy process. In one instance the city started legal proceedings against a nightclub in December 2011. The case has been postponed five times.

Since 2009, the city has received an increase in noise complaints from the Long Street area. We sought legal opinion on whether the municipality could write its own by-law pertaining to business licences and we’ve recently received feedback.” Good Hope sub-council chairman Taki Amira said the issues in Long Street were a result of the “retro-fitting of nightclubs into old buildings”. He said that a brief haul been sent to the mayor’s office for a new by-law and said the first draft was expected to be completed at the end of this month.

Byron Qually, convener of the Long Street Residents’ Association said: “The city has a comprehensive break-down on the effects of noise pollution ranging from health and work performance and behaviour. While these points are valid, they provide negligible documentation on how property investments are losing value due to an area being considered uninhabitable. Mayoral committee member for health Lungiswa James confirmed the City would be proposing a new by-law but said it was difficult to put a time frame on the process as it required public participation.

Copyright Cape Argus Newspaper

The City does not have the authority to …

From the Cape Times, by Caryn Dolley
, 8th December 2012

More than a third of nightclubs along the popular city entertainment strip, Long Street, are operating without the necessary licences and the city does not have the authority to shut them down. Mayoral committee member for health Lungiswa James said according to city health records, 19 nightclubs were operating in Long Street. He said of these clubs:

– Seven have been issued with business licences to operate as nightclubs.
– One was refused a licence, the owner reapplied for one and this was being re-assessed.
– Seven have pending licence applications.
– Four face legal action to ensure compliance (one’s licence is under consideration, one has been warned to apply for a business licence, one’s owner was found guilty of non-compliance and the fourth must still be inspected).

James said the Business Act did not authorise city officials to close an unlicensed club. “The city must therefore fine or summons errant owners to court where a magistrate may decide to close the premises while the owner obtains the applicable licence. “In terms of the city’s Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisance by-law we have no authority to close licensed or unlicensed premises,” he said. James said the ownership of nightclubs changed frequently and with each new owner, the prescribed legal process needed to be followed.

City health members inspected licensed nightclubs at least once every three months. Unlicensed premises, and premises about which complaints had been received, were inspected more often. In Loop Street, parallel to Long Street, a club, The Loop, has operated without the necessary licence for nearly a year. James said a recommendation to issue an entertainment licence could not be made due to outstanding requirements relating to approval of building plans and submission of a noise impact assessment.

The Loop’s general manager, Vaughan Cragg, told the Cape Times the club had a liquor licence. He said “70 percent of the places in Long Street don’t have business licences”. James said the owner of The Loop had been summoned to court “for trading without the required business licence”. He said an application for a business licence for The Loop was made in the name of a company, The Business Zone 983 CC, and a person by the name of Mark Roy Lifman was listed as being in charge.

Earlier this year Lifman, a Sea Point businessman, was arrested in connection with another matter – allegedly running the bouncer company Specialised Protection Services (SPS) without being registered with the Private Security Regulatory Authority, as required by law. SPS operated at 60 percent of the province’s clubs, including the majority in Long Street, before being shut down.

The Long Street Residents’ Association website said while it believed entertainment was “crucial to the development of Long Street”, noise was problematic. Richard Bosman, the city’s executive director of safety and security, said if noise complaints were received, a process would be followed including issuing a written warning and possibly the impounding of equipment.

Copyright Cape Times Newspaper.

Lawyers start circling local government …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 29th November 2012

Residents and businesses in the central city have been asked to “play nice” and be “good neighbours” during the festive season as resources are limited. Brandon Golding, chairman of the Cape Town Community Police Forum (CPF) said this at a police imbizo held at the Cape Sun, last week . “So we have to work smarter, be good neighbours and the community needs to report suspicious behaviour,” he said.

Central City Improvement District (CCID) security manager, Muneeb Hendricks said they were also preparing for the festive season by installing incident mapping systems and cameras on the mobile kiosks around the city. Daniel Rezant from the City Film and permit office said of the 208 events which will be held across Cape Town, 28 were planned for the CBD and the biggest is the switching on of the festive lights which takes place on Sunday December 2. Several roads surround the Grand Parade will be closed and officials are expecting 40 000 people to attend. “There is also the Harrington Square block party on Friday December 7 and the summer market at the Company’s Garden,” Mr Rezant said.

The issues surrounding tables and chairs took centre stage when John Davidson, the owner of Bob’s Bar said establishments in Long Street were still being fined. Following a meeting between police, the CPF, ward councillor Dave Bryant and bar owners in Long Street an agreement was reached to wait for the City to get legal opinion on the permit system before any further action was taken. However, Mr Davidson said this was not the case as police officers continued to fine establishments that serve alcohol to the outside tables. “We all need to know what is going on as we cannot operate our businesses on a shoestring. Police officers keep passing the buck, but we cannot go on like this,” Mr Davidson said. After making a phone call, Mr Golding said he had confirmation from the Cape Town CPF Cluster head, Peter Mead, that while ordinary liquor checks will be taking place, establishments would not be fined for outside tables. “We have confirmed that the normal liquor checks regarding licences are taking place in Long Street but police officers will not be fining establishments for outside tables,” Mr Golding said.

Noise complaints in Long Street also took centre stage when labour lawyer Michael Bagraim questioned Mr Hendricks about noise pollution in the area. “I represent a group of hotels on the upper end of Long Street and over the past three months, the noise situation has worsened. “We have found that it is particularly bad between 11pm and 3pm and with the festive season coming up, I want to know what you are doing about it,” Mr Bagraim asked. Mr Hendricks said the CCID security officers had no jurisdiction to take action against noisy clubs, instead they ask them to turn it down. “The correct channel is the City of Cape Town inspectors and they can now confiscate the clubs’ sound equipment,” Mr Hendricks said. Norbert Furnon-Roberts said the possible pedestrianisation of Long Street could help with noise issues.

Geoff Madsen, developer of Flatrock Suites and Janis Ross of Maremoto agree with Mr Bagraim. In a seperate interview, Mr Madsen said while some club owners co-operated many made no effort. “At Flatrock Suites, we have many people who are selling their apartments because of the noise and many of them are selling below the market price. “The value of the building has dropped by more than 27%. I have raised my concerns, but have been told that because we live in the city we have to put up with it and that it goes against the development of the city,” Mr Madsen said.

Ms Ross said after spending an evening at her boutique hotel on Saturday November 24, she believed the situation was worsening. “The noise levels were the usual bass, boom boom sounds getting louder as the night progressed. “However, the major problem was at about 4.30am when I was woken up by the hooting of taxis spread right across the road and backed up solidly from the Urban Chic Hotel to the Long Street baths. “This lasted for about 30 minutes. This could and should be avoided as the noise levels are unacceptable. “There must be policing and law enforcement during these times to eliminate this harassment urgently.

“The noise in Long Street has worsened due to a lack of enforcement of sound levels and the behaviour of bar patrons and owners,” she said. Ms Ross said the noise had a negative impact on her business as people no longer booked into the hotel and said tourists only stayed for a few days. Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), said thanks to Mr Madsen who helped connect night club owners and residents at the top of Long Street, there has been some improvement. “The owners of Marvel and Cafe Royale have responded to residential concerns and reduced their noise footprint. Unfortunately noise concerns are still very much part of the rest of the Long Street community,” he said.

He said the association had raised their concerns with Mr Bryant who said he sympathised with the LSRA concerns regarding noise. “Unfortunately the extent of resolution appears stop there. “For example at a meeting requested by the LSRA in April 2011 and organised by the City, it was minuted that Mr Bryant would provide feedback on ‘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’. “Minutes were sent to him, and have been publicly displayed on the LSRA website. “We have had absolutely no feedback from him regarding this request. “Similarly, when a noise dispute occurs on the weekend and he is called for advice on how to resolve it, only a voice message option is available,” he said. Mr Qually said while pedestrianising of the street, may help resolve pollution from car sound systems, it was unlikely to resolve the night-club sound pollution.

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

All her responses were sent by email …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 4th October 2012

MONIQUE DUVAL Residents in Bree Street and the Community Police Forum (CPF) have objected vociferously to an application by the Orphanage cocktail bar which has filed an application with the Liquor Licensing Tribunal to alter its premises. Orphanage marketing manager Katie Friedman said while the existing premises would remain as they are, they plan to expand into the adjoining building at 11 Orphan Street. “Orphanage is tiny and we are doubling the size of our space to make it more comfortable and to increase focus on our food offering and flexibility. We also want to have a fully-sound-proofed building,” she said.

But the application has not been welcomed by the Cape Town CPF who claim the granting of the application would have a negative effect on surrounding residents. According to the objection lodged by the CPF, chairman Henry Giddy said the Orphanage was known for causing a noise nuisance and said the section of Bree Street could not be compared to the party hub that exists in the upper end of Long Street. “The residents have for many years lived peacefully in the area and are they are being severely prejudiced through the existing operation of the Orphanage as indicated by the numerous listed noise disturbance complaints,” Mr Giddy said.

The 14-page objection also consists of photographs taken from an apartment in CPI House to show how close the bar is as well as photographs showing patrons on the pavements outside the establishment. Resident Nanine du Plesis said since the Orphanage opened, she had to deal with loud music from 10pm to 2am every day and said she has reported the bar several times. “I phoned the Central City Improvement District (CCID) and the police, and I have references to prove it. “I even notified Charlene Vassen, the senior inspector from the City to come and inspect, but unfortunately they arrived after 2am. I live very close to the bar so I am directly affected by the noise that’s why I am objecting,” she said.

The application also includes the extension of liquor trading hours from 2am to 4am. But in the objection Mr Giddy said if one or more establishments in upper Bree Street are permitted to trade beyond 2am, it would act as a magnet for the criminal element operating in the Long Street area. “Upper Long Street generates a significant amount of crime ranging from pick pocketing, robbery, armed robbery and theft from motor vehicle. This is as a direct result of the prevalence of night clubs and the inevitable criminal element the industry attracts. “By analysing the monthly crime map for August (2012) the CPF identified 11 cases of robbery and eight cases of theft out of motor vehicles reported to the police in the upper Long Street area. That compares to zero cases of robbery and four cases of theft out of motor vehicles in upper Bree Street in the same period. “The situation in Long Street would have been far worse had it not been for additional crime containment measures in the form of six Central City Improvement District (CCID) officers and police officers deployed in the Long Street,” he said. Mr Giddy said that neither the police nor the CCID could provide extra resources to Bree Street, should the application be granted.

However, Ms Friedman said she found this odd. “If the Orphanage had wanted to open on Long Street, we would have done so – we chose Bree Street as we enjoy the diversity of its offering. We do not see our current bar as a ‘nightclub’ we are a cocktail bar (emporium), which happens to have a DJ. “The intended Orphanage will be an intimate nightclub with a stage, harking back to the glamorous 1920s style of night clubbing but this will be in a fully sound-proofed and purpose-built building. “Since opening we have had one incident of a bag being taken (or lost). In the past six months there have been no other incidents relating to Orphanage or our guests. “Our guests are generally well-heeled Cape Town inhabitants. “It’s also worth noting that prior to us opening, there were regular instances of the businesses on either side of us being broken into. Since opening this has stopped. “We have superb private security both inside and out and we take our social and neighbourly responsibilities very seriously,” she said.

Ms Friedman said the pictures of patrons on the pavements were misleading. “Orphanage customers are not permitted to consume alcohol or block the pavement. “However, they are permitted to do both of these things on the gravel area and the stoep area. We have excellent security staff who ensure that customers do not remain on the pavement blocking access or consuming alcohol – taking a snap-shot of patrons crossing or walking towards our entrance or permitted areas is misleading,” she said.

According to mayoral committee member for Health, Lungiswa James, the Orphanage did not have a Health and Entertainment Licence and was fined on Wednesday August 29 for trading without one. She said an application had been made in May but had not yet been issued as the owner has not yet complied with the requirements set out by the City. When asked whether the bar’s management was aware of the requirements, Ms Friedman said: “We were not experienced bar-owners prior to the opening of Orphanage. We have been very surprised at the amount of permits, licences, permissions and inspections that are required to operate. “The red-tape is so overwhelming it is surprising that anyone opens anything in South Africa, but we will press on and all our applications are in process -– generally we are waiting for the council to respond or send an inspector which is why the application is not completed. “Orphanage completed all the requirements in the shortest possible time-frame, but we cannot be responsible for the laborious and seemingly-overwhelmed official process.”

Ms Friedman admitted the bar was not soundproofed and they were aware of all noise complaints. One resident who has lived in the area for several years, who asked not to be named, said the biggest problem was noise. “Noise from the music and the people who socialise in front of the venue. Before, most residents had the odd night where the Long Street noise would hit them, but now for many residents it is an almost daily occurrence. Obviously there is also a marked increase in traffic, parked cars, hooting taxis, aggressive car guards, drunken behaviour, shouting and so on. All of which are negative and new to our area,” she said. In response Ms Friedman said: “One cannot expect to live in the centre of Cape Town and not have noise. We agree there is an increase in traffic and parked cars, however, our security ensures external noise is kept to a minimum and guests are always requested to be respectful to neighbours upon leaving our premises.”

Nick Spencer from the Western Cape Liquor Authority said since the application was made, they have received seven objections. He told the CapeTowner that the application had been made under the new Act When asked what role the business licence played in deciding whether the application was granted by the Liquor Authority, Mr Spencer said: “Business licensing and zoning are municipal functions and responsibilities. “Under the new Act, the Liquor Licensing Tribunal looks at these two aspects only when an application for a licence is made. The Liquor Licensing Tribunal will consider the application as well as all representations received, and then make a decision.”


From the CapeTowner, by Katie Friedman, 11th October 2012

In response to the article (“Bree Street battles”, CapeTowner, October 4), the second headline “City centre residents shouldn’t complain about noise, says bar manager” of the continuation of the article on page 2 is fabricated. No bar manager was interviewed for this article, all responses were made in writing and reporter Monique Duval has said: “The headline was taken from your response to the questions posed by us.” Our response was: “With respect, no-one can expect to live in the centre of Cape Town and not have noise.” Which in no way relates to the sub-headline. It’s also worth noting your omission of the first part of our sentence, which is quoted in the article too, which again skews the perception of what was actually said.

We believe this subheadline and dreamed up quote will seriously compromise and prejudice our licence applications. As a result it will have a serious impact on our business – we are surprised that the CapeTowner with whom we have only had positive dealings in the past operates in this way – creating an untrue quote or headline to sensationalise a story. Additionally, the extra Word On The Street piece states “Orphanage said people cannot expect to live in the city and then complain about noise”. Yet another made-up quote. Additionally you state we are operating without a licence when all licences are either granted or are in application.

We will add this into our complaint to the Press Ombudsman. Shame on you. We are grateful for any comment you have on this fabricated headline. Thank you in advance for your assistance in helping us set the record straight.


From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 11th October 2012

Ms Friedman’s allegation that the quotes were fabricated are untrue. We investigated this case for several weeks before the report was published. In my conversations with the bar manager Raymond Endean, he told the CapeTowner that Ms Friedman, the marketing manager, would be responsible for liaising with the newspaper. In the second paragraph we stated that Ms Friedman was the marketing manager. The CapeTowner did not have a sit down interview with Ms Friedman as we were told she was in Europe. All her responses were sent by email so the fact that no interview took place is irrelevant because she provided a written response.

Nowhere do we state that there was face to face interview. The headline was taken from Ms Friedman’s response to a question we posed. This is what we sent her: “When asked what their reasons were for objecting to the application made by the Orphanage, one resident said: ‘I think the biggest problem we have faced since the opening of Orphanage is noise. Noise from both music and the people that socialise in front of the venue. ‘Before, most residents had the odd night where the Long Street noise would hit them, but now for many residents it is an almost daily occurrence. Obviously there is also a marked increase in traffic, parked cars, hooting taxis, aggressive car guards, drunken behaviour, shouting, all of which are negative and new to our area.’ Can you provide a response to this?”

Mr Friedman responded: ‘With respect, one cannot expect to live in the centre of Cape Town and not have noise. ‘We agree there is an increase in traffic and parked cars, however, our security ensure that external noise is kept to a minimum and guests are always requested to be respectful to neighbours upon leaving our premises.” We clearly asked her to respond to the complaint made by a resident so the headline is not incorrect.

The Word on the Street, is an opinion piece written by me. And in it l stated that the bars and clubs are required by law to apply for business licences. In an official response from the City’s Health Department, mayoral committee member Lungiswa James said the Orphanage made an application for the licence but that it had not been granted because the Orphanage had not as yet fulfilled all the requirements. It’s important to note that just because the business licence application has been made, it does not mean that approval is guaranteed. Councillors from the Good Hope Sub-council will still have to view the application and decide whether or not it should be granted. Based on the above, I don’t see how saying the Orphanage is trading without a licence is untrue.

The CapeTowner goes to great lengths to ensure that all articles are accurate and fair. We spoke to various sources and Ms Friedman was given a chance to respond to all the allegations made by the residents and the Community Police Forum (CPF). We have written responses to all the correspondence which will prove that there was no fabrication and will counter the claims made by Ms Friedman. Fine time Richard Bosman, Executive Director for Safety and Security, City of Cape Town In response to the article (“Bree Street battles”, CapeTowner, October 4), the City’s Liquor Unit responded to a complaint from the resident regarding the Orphanage and the following actions were taken:

– On Friday May 11 a noise warning was issued in terms of the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisance By-law.
– On Friday August 17, a R1 000 fine was issued in terms of the Business Act for operating without a business licence. A second noise warning was also issued, as the first one had expired. The complainant was given the contact numbers of the Liquor Unit, so they could be contacted if the problem re-occurs.

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.


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

How clubs/bars comply with CoCT licensing requirements

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 17th May 2012

Following on-going noise battles in the CBD, CapeTowner reporter MONIQUE DUVAL spoke to mayoral committee member for health, Lungiswa James to find out how clubs can comply.

Q. All nightclubs which wish to play loud music are required to apply for a Health and Entertainment Licence. Can you explain the application process?

A. Applicants are required to provide their Identity Document, a copy thereof and a certified South African Police Clearance Certificate which is obtainable from the South African Police Service (SAPS). Foreign nationals will be required to provide Police Clearance from their country of birth and their passport and may be requested to provide a work permit issued by the Department of Home Affairs. The application will be accepted by any City of Cape Town Environmental Health office and at the licensing desk on the second floor of the Media City Building in Hertzog Boulevard in Cape Town. Once the aforementioned documentation has been presented to the Business Licensing Official, a directive to make a cash payment of R25 will be printed and handed to the applicant to take to the nearest City cash office. Upon payment, the applicant will be issued a receipt, which must be returned to the licence official, who will then capture the application on an electronic application form. A copy will be printed for the applicant and thereafter distributed electronically by email to all the necessary reporting officials for comment. Upon receipt of all of the reporting officials’ comments, further correspondence will be entered into with the applicant.

Q. What do club owners/ managers need to fulfil before a licence can be granted?

A. The premises will need to have the necessary Land Use Planning clearances and a Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Planning and Building Development Management department. In addition, the owner will have to comply with the legislative requirements of the City’s Fire, Health, Mechanical Ventilation and Noise Control Divisions. Nightclubs will also be required to provide a Noise Impact Assessment from a registered acoustic engineer which shows that the premises is adequately soundproofed.

Q. Is there an application fee? If so, what is it?

A. The application fee for a Business Licence is R25. However, the police and other City departments may charge separate fees for additional documents.

Q. How long does it take for an application to be processed?

A. If all requirements set by reporting officials are complied with by the applicant, and the authorising official has recommended approval of the licence, it could take up to six weeks before the licence is issued as the final authorisation for licences for nightclubs rests with the sub- councils.

Q. Are clubs allowed to open their doors without this licence? If they do open, what are the consequences?

A. In terms of the Businesses Act, premises must be licensed to trade. If premises open without the required licences they may be fined or summoned to court. In addition, premises where noise outbreaks occur run the risk of confiscation of their sound equipment in terms of the Streets, Public Places and Prevention of Noise Nuisances By-law.

Q. Who decides whether the licence is granted or not?

A. The delegation to approve Business Licences for nightclubs rests with the sub-council. It should be noted that the Businesses Act directs that if all the required approvals are in place and the applicant has a clear criminal record, the licence must be issued.

Q. If the City decides not to grant a club a licence, can the owners appeal? If so, what is the process they will have to follow?

A. If a licence is refused, the applicant is informed in writing why it has been refused and that they may appeal the decision by submitting an appeal in the required format to the City manager within 21 days of receipt of the refusal letter. If the appeal documentation is received within the correct timeframes the owner or his representative will be granted an opportunity to be heard at an appeals committee. Should the appeal fail at this level, in terms of the Businesses Act, the owner may still appeal to the Premier of the Western Cape Provincial Government.

Q. The amendment to the Streets, Public Places and Noise Nuisance by-law which gives City officials the right to confiscate the sound equipment of noisy clubs has been causing a stir among clubs. Can you explain the process followed before equipment is confiscated?

A. The owner or management is issued with a general written warning notice regarding the transgression. A compliance notice with the intention to confiscate the said establishment’s sound equipment together with a spot fine is issued on the second transgression. The third step involves the sound equipment of the premises being confiscated.

Q. Are noise readings done? If not, why not?

A. Noise readings are normally taken in terms of the Noise Control Regulations. However, when there is more than one simultaneous noise source, sound level measurements may not be relied upon and a noise nuisance route may rather be followed, for instance, action taken in terms of the Streets, Public Places and Prevention of Noise Nuisance By-law.

Q. Who can club owners contact to ensure that they comply?

A. For Business Licence queries in the Cape Town CBD, they can call Lucille Symes on 021 400 6513 or the Maitland Environmental Health office at 021 514 4153

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

Constructive move by the LSRA to encourage a meeting of minds …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 17th May 2012

Noise nuisances and legitimising complaints took centre stage when the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) met with nightclubs to discuss noise and liquor licence issues. Geoff Madsen, developer of Flatrock Suites and an LSRA member said the association was looking for new ways to engage with clubs.

“We all want Long Street to remain as it is. This is not about closing anyone down but to find new ways we can engage to resolve issues about noise. “In my discussions with clubs, I found that half of the time they don’t even know when complaints are lodged against them,” he said. Mr Madsen said that for the past six years, he had awful experiences with bass. “It goes through everything and we can’t sleep. There are laws around noise nuisance so we can’t say ‘you can’t complain, you live in the city’,” he said.

Norbert Furnon-Roberts, who heads the Area Liquor Forum (ALF) and is a member of the ward committee, asked club owners and managers if they had read the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Nuisances By-law. Many said they had not read the document and were told the LSRA would email it to them. Mr Madsen said there were many aspects of the complaints system on noise nuisances that opened it up to misuse and club owners and residents needed to find a way to legitimise complaints. Club owners and managers said they were concerned about the legitimacy of complaints.

Bruce Gordon from Joburg Bar said it took him several years to get a Health and Entertainment Licence and asked whether residents have considered double- glazing their windows. Mr Madsen said not only was double-glazing expensive but it did little to prevent bass from filtering through. Jan Davids from Marvel said there were ways of lowering bass but there were issues with bass travelling through the roofs of clubs. Mr Madsen said he would remain in contact with clubs in the area about noise complaints.

Speaking to the CapeTowner after the meeting, LSRA convenor Byron Qually said the association was concerned about clubs and businesses misusing the City’s mechanisms to report noise. “For any complaint system to have legitimacy in a commercial environment, business competitiveness needs to be taken into account. “This is not to say that a business cannot bring a noise complaint against another business, but rather that such a complaint should be investigated to establish if it is factual.

“On the other hand, with the suppressed economic climate, struggling businesses tend to increase their noise footprint to generate awareness, and so impact on surrounding establishments. It has also been known for noise compliant clubs to removed their sound dampening to remain competitive with noncompliant clubs,” Mr Qually said. He said the meeting highlighted that residents do want bars and clubs to remain in the city, but a collaborative approach was needed to identify an entertainment model that works for all stakeholders.

“The noise disputes have also overshadowed shared visions that residents and clubs have for Long Street, and which can be taken forward collectively. “However, the immediate result of the meeting is that the LSRA will be working independently with each club owner and surrounding residents to define a noise level which caters for both residential and entertainment needs,” he said. Ward councillor Dave Bryant said he supported the efforts of residents and clubs in dealing with noise complaints.

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