Category Archives: Noise related

Unwitting contradiction in the City wanting residents to …

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

There have been mixed reactions to the new liquor policy which will allow pubs, clubs and other establishments to apply to extend their trading hours. The policy, which was explained to councillors at the Good Hope Sub-council meeting, on Monday April 16, will allow for establishments to extend their trading hours to no later than 4am, provided they fulfil certain requirements.

Sub-council chairman, Taki Amira, said the policy followed the amendments to the Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-Law which came into effect on Sunday April 1. According to the Act the trading hours for the sale of liquor are to be stipulated by the municipality. The cut-off time was 2am but the bylaw was amended to allow onconsumption premises to apply for an extension to trade until 4am, provided they meet the criteria set out by the City. But the City has to consult with the ward councillor, ratepayers’ associations and residents before it can grant an extension.

Christa Hugo from the City’s health department explained how the policy will work. She said only establishments which fall in business or industrial nodes may apply for the extensions. “The application will work in two parts, the first part will require establishments to go to the Land Use Management Department to ensure that their property is zoned correctly. “If they are not, their application will not be considered.

The applicant will then have to go to the Metro Police and Law Enforcement to get clearance from these departments to see whether they have contravened any laws regarding noise, liquor or whether there have been complaints against their business,” she said. Establishments will then have to pay a R5 000 application fee which will be processed by the health department. City health will then forward the application to the subcouncil, who will get feedback from the community before making a decision on whether to grant the application,” Ms Hugo said. Mr Amira said the policy will apply to new liquor licences and renewals.

Ward councillor Dave Bryant said: “This is a positive step. In areas such as Long Street there are legitimate businesses who would qualify for the extension.” “The City will not be granting extensions willy nilly and will consult the community on these applications. The new laws call for liquor traders to become more responsible,” Mr Bryant said.

Vusa Mazula, co-owner of Zula Bar in Long Street said he felt he had no choice but to apply for the extension. “With the way business is in Cape Town, we must apply for the extension. The 2am cut-off time was simply too early and would have killed our business. I think the application fee of R5 000 is a bit steep but I welcome the policy and the amendments to the by-law as it is giving us a fair chance,” he said.

Residents however, have slammed the new policy as they feared it would not be policed properly. Buiten Street resident Geoff Madsen said he thought the extension should only be given to compliant businesses. “The extension policy adds noise, security and criminal activity to the area. “Research should be done on who the patrons are at that time of morning and what economic value the city and businesses achieve for the extra two hours of operation,” he said.

Residents had enough problems with clubs that traded until 2am, said one woman who did not want to be identified. “This refers to the noise and music a nightclub produces, but also to noise generated by patrons inside and outside the venue. “Patrons tend to be loud while walking to their cars, they laugh, giggle and shout. I often find myself looking forward to 2am because I know that the music will be turned off and that there will be fewer people shouting in the street “If the City did grant an extension till 4am, I think that this could only be done if venues with full soundproofing and a venue that has never had a noise complaint. “I don’t know of a single properly soundproof venue in the city and I also cannot think of a single venue that has not been complained about. “Further, if the City is already struggling to control and enforce the law on existing clubs with a 2am cut-off time, I sincerely doubt they will be able to enforce further laws to a 4 am cut-off time. Plain and simple, bad idea,” she said.

Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association said the knock-on effect of the liquor trading hours was the problem not the by-law. “In principle, the extension seems to suit bars, clubs and residents. “However, from our experience with City by-laws and even basic licensing, the management and follow through of policy, particularly if it involves City Health, is highly questionable,” he said.

Janis Ross, said the trustees of the Ross Family Trust which and owns Maremoto in Long Street will object vehemently and rigorously to any extension of trading hours for the clubs surrounding their business which are causing severe noise problems.

A hotel manger who refused to be named due to threats from nearby clubs, said the extensions should not be granted. “I don’t see why there is a need for people to drink until 4am. There are businesses in Long Street that already trade until 4am without having any of the special licenses. I doubt very much that it will be policed properly or whether our complaints and objections will be taken seriously.

Clearly the bars, pubs and nightclubs are more important than the residents and accommodation establishments,” she said. Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman, Henry Giddy, said the extension was a good idea as it helped give residents a better chance to have their say. “Residents now need to empower themselves and make their voices heard on applications. The extension policy gives the power to residents and I would definitely label it as an enabler. “The liquor forum will also look closely at these applications and communicate with the community and when necessary, we will object,” he said.

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

In a follow up letter to the article above, Liquor policy Patrick Labrosse, Vicechairman, City Bowl Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association Regarding the Liquor extension policy. As usual, the devil is in the detail. Whether the cut-off time is 2am or 4am is only a question of degree in the inconvenience to residents.

In theory, this policy reads as reasonable and workable. But the club owners – the prime source of complaints – have been exceedingly good at ignoring the law and dragging any process on to their advantage (unlike the affected residents, club owners can afford the legal teams for dilatory tactics).

Some events organisers have also been guilty of ignoring agreed-upon hours and noise levels. The City needs the will to enforce the regulations; the muscle to enforce them; quick reaction times to discourage tentative offenders to try their luck.

Latest information indicates that this is the intention and the policy should lead to better coordination between the SAPS, the City and other parties. Added pluses are that the community will have to be consulted through the ward councillors, the ward committees, the ratepayers, and advertising to directly affected neighbours.

There is also the new ALF (Area Liquor Forum) just coming into life. And, together with a couple of added legal changes that should help, the maximum fine has been increased to R1 million. So it does seem that the City is giving itself the legal muscle to deal with problem establishments. It is also understood that the effect will not be felt immediately but progressively through liquor licence renewal applications.

There is an unwitting contradiction in the City wanting residents to return to the CBD but failing to date to ensure the conditions for residential life there and allowing clubs to defeat that aim. In the name of property redevelopment and bringing life back to parts of the CBD areas, the City has allowed after-hours leisure businesses to proliferate to the point where residents are considering moving out.

A single, wild-cat club can affect several blocks and hundreds of residents, so property developers should – and most likely do – welcome a policy that appears to want to deal with the problem. But only experience will show how effective these measures are. The other side – the errant club owners – are often brazen and do not lack resources and the affected residents are the ones on the front lines in this long battle.

Effectiveness will therefore require every part to function as intended and sustainably, including, of course, last but not least, the courts.

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

Requirements of the community made clear to up front …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 5th April 2012

The new Western Cape Liquor Act came into effect this week and with more than 700 liquor outlets in the City Bowl, the Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF) launched its own Area Liquor Forum (ALF) which will be responsible for liaising with the community about any applications in their area. The ALF is a sub-forum of the CPF and will be spearheaded by Norbert Furnon-Roberts. And with a host of liquor outlets from hotels and restaurants to pubs and nightclubs in the city, the ALF has also established a set of guidelines to assist its members.

CPF chairperson Henry Giddy said the forum was formed because the new Act allows for more public participation on liquor applications and renewals. “It is only fair to potential applicants to know up front how this responsibility will be implemented and what the expectations of the community are. “The City bowl currently has 721 licences with many new applications a month. Given that the stakeholders now include the police, the City in terms of business licences, the ward councillor and the CPF, it’s easy to see there is room for the process to break down.

“The purpose of the new forum is to establish a link between the community and the processes of stakeholders to ensure no potential problematic applications fall through the cracks,” he said. Mr Giddy told the CapeTowner one of the biggest concerns for the CPF is the “blatant disregard for the community and the law” by a handful of outlets. “These premises are often guilty of multiple infringements ranging from trading hours, noise as well as permitting criminal activities, thus becoming a nuisance to residents, degrading the local area also being a burden on tax payers’ resources, which have to then step in to resolve these issues,” he said.

The forum has drawn up criteria for various establishments applying for liquor licences in the City Bowl. According to the guidelines, the criteria stipulated by the forum request that all nightclubs which apply for liquor licences should first obtain a Health and Entertainment Licence before their application for a liquor licence should be considered. When asked about the legality of this, Mr Giddy said: “Some of the criteria we lay out is not explicitly defined in the law. “However, according to the Liquor Act, the community may consider invoking the clause which states the issuing of the licence is not in the public interest. So the requirements of the community and what we, the community, feel is in our public interest is made clear to potential applicants up front.”

Mr Giddy said the clause relating to noise was intended to raise awareness among club owners. “We are asking nightclubs to ensure their entertainment licences are arranged up front as these licences cover the requirements in connection to noise emissions. The most frequent complaint we receive from the community is noise related, so the reason we include this clause is to raise awareness of the requirement by the City with the applicant, who often claims to not know of this requirement after the fact. “In terms of the waste management aspect, there has, in the past, been a lot of on consumption premises which simply dump their waste on the pavement after closing late at night. This makes it very unpleasant for the working public and tourists coming into the city in the early morning. “Also it is a burden on the City and the Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) cleaning services.”

The new liquor forum has been welcomed by members of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA). Convenor Byron Qually said the association currently did receive notifications from the Good Hope Sub-council offices about new applications for liquor licences. He said the guidelines were welcomed as it would cover both nightclub internal operations, noise and the knock-on effects. “From what we are experiencing in the CBD, nightclubs and restaurants trade without the required licences. Similarly, with the high turnover of establishments, new owners simply trade on the previous owner’s licence. We are unsure if this is legal, and if the reused licence remains valid.

“The big question is how will unlicensed nightclubs be identified, and if they will be required to close until the guidelines have been met. “The guidelines tend to shift the responsibility from the City health department to the nightclub owners. “For example, the request to conduct an independent noise abatement study may speed up resolution for all parties involved. It is also clear that nightclub owners are required to take responsibility for their patrons leaving the club. This is a welcome guideline as the LSRA is receiving ongoing concerns from lodging establishments about drunken street-fights in the early hours of the morning at the top of Long Street,” he said.

Alan Winde, MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, described the Act as “the single largest intervention to reduce alcohol abuse and its related harms in the province”. “Through the Act, we aim to reduce the number of drinking spots in residential areas. We will also be cracking down on distributors and retailers who supply the estimated 25 000 illegal shebeens currently operating in residential communities. “Under the Act they will be liable for penalties that include very heavy fines, jail terms and the seizure of assets. We will not stand idly by as alcohol continues to destroy our communities – we are taking them back from the clutches of alcohol abuse,” he said. The liquor forum has created flow charts which explain the process of liquor licence applications and how and when the CPF get involved.

For more information on the liquor guidelines visit www.capetowncpf.co.za or email liquor@capetowncpf.co.za or call 072 219 3010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.