Tag Archives: By-law

Councillors reject City Health departments report …

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

Inconsiderate clubs who continue to trade despite noise complaints will not be tolerated, said Good Hope Sub-council chairman, Taki Amira at the meeting on Monday March 19. Mr Amira said the sub-council was concerned about the number of noise complaints and would be taking a firm stance. “The City promotes mixed use developments and we encourage people to rent and buy property in the city, but residents are constantly faced with inconsiderate clubs who continue to violate their rights,” he said.

In March last year, Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith broke the news that an amendment to the Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisance By-law, would see the sound equipment of noisy clubs impounded if they don’t heed warnings to turn down the volume. The amendment was lauded by residents who said they hoped it would help to deal with noise pollution in the city centre. Using this amendment, Mr Amira said clubs which continued to cause a nuisance would be issued with warnings. “We will be issuing final warnings and if we receive any noise complaints, we will ensure that club’s sound equipment is impounded. Following this we also received many requests from clubs asking what they need to do to comply. This sub-council is not against clubs but we want businesses to trade responsibly and we hope this warning is taken seriously,” he said.

The Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) has welcomed Mr Amira’s statement. LSRA convenor Byron Qually said it was clear that fines for noise transgressions have not worked in the past. “The costs incurred are just incorporated into a club’s operating budget. “Although this updated by-law will directly help residents resolve noise pollution, it places the onus on nightclubs to mange their sound equipment and DJs, and ultimately listen to the community that surrounds them,” he said. In a separate report submitted to the sub-council by the City’s health department about noise complaints in the area covered by the sub-council which includes the entire City Bowl, the Atlantic Seaboard and Hout Bay, 23 warnings were issued for noise contraventions and two fines issued between December 2011 and February 2012. But councillors rejected the report and said they they wanted to know how many complaints were made during the same period and how many.

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

City officials needed to be given additional powers to deal effectively with the …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 17th March 2011

City centre residents have welcomed a proposed amendment to the Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisance By-law, which could see the sound equipment of noisy clubs impounded if they don’t listen to warnings to turn down the volume. A motion passed by the City’s safety and security portfolio committee, called for an amendment to the current by-law to allow city officials to impound sound equipment of noisy pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith said the reasons for the amendment was that up till now city officials could only issue fines. Mr Smith said residents who experienced sleepless nights due to noise emanating from city centre establishments were required to fill in affidavits and submit them to the City’s health department. However, he said due to long, drawn out court processes this was not ideal and that City officials needed to be given additional powers to deal effectively with the situation. Mr Smith said currently there are three establishments in the CBD which are problematic and said officials had received hundreds of complaints from residents.

According to the motion, many of the complaints have dragged on for more than a year and “leads to hundreds of repeated noise complaints and angry frustrated residents across the city who blame the City and the South African Police Service for not being able to bring repeated offenders to book”. Hilda Borman, supervisor of the St Martini Gardens residential block in Queen Victoria Street said she received many noise complaints from residents in the building. “Some of the owners have installed double glazing, others try to sleep with earplugs, but this has hardly any effect at all. I often report the noise to the police. Sometimes they do react to the complaint and the noise is quickly attended to, but not always. I would like to suggest that events rather be held on the Parade or at the stadium,” she said.

Siranne Ungerer, operations manager of the Urban Chic Boutique Hotel, said she would support the proposed amendment as she hoped it would improve the quality of sleep for residents and tourists, and that clubs, pubs and restaurants would “know that there are very real consequences for the businesses should they not obey the law”. “We are a boutique hotel, and while it doesn’t affect my daily living directly, it does adversely affect the sleep quality of the international and local tourists that have booked rooms in our establishment. “We have had situations where music was so loud that the beds our guests were sleeping on vibrated. We have had to supply ear-plugs our guests on many occasions, which only block out about 20% of the sound and are uncomfortable to sleep with,” she said. “For years we received no feedback and no consequences were laid out to the establishments. This year we are seeing an improvement, one establishment has received three fines since January and another has been summoned and has been instructed to install sound proofing.”

A Loop Street resident who asked not to be named said she had continuous problems. “When I moved into my city flat in 2003, noise from night clubs was not a problem. Now it is a problem on most nights of the week. It is often thought that party noise occurs just on Fridays and Saturdays, but that is not the case, as it can occur every single day of the week. And it is this constant noise nuisance that makes it such a problem. “Over the past few years I have found my self becoming more and more irritable. My temper flares quickly, and when there is noise I can hardly control my anger. During the day I find myself worrying about possible noise in the evening and instead of looking forward to quiet time at home, I dread it. I have difficulty sleeping and often wait till after 2am – when the clubs close–to go to bed. But it is not just sleep that is affected. It is also the normal living that is affected,” she said. She said reporting noisy clubs to the authorities didn’t seem to resolve the issue as “authorities don’t have any real authority”. She told the CapeTowner of phone calls she made to the police, the Central City Improvement District (CCID) and the City’s noise inspectors but it did not achieve any results.

Mr Smith said many aspects needed to be taken into consideration when looking at noise pollution. He said the responsibility is on residents and developers of residential blocks. “I would not support a resident who moved into Long Street and then complained about noise,” Mr Smith said. However, he said, in cases where a resident had been living in a particular area for several years and a new club opened and caused a nuisance, the City would need to intervene.

Christiane De Villiers has been living in an apartment in Long Street for 13 years. In November last year she spoke to the CapeTowner about her grievances about a bar which opened below her flat (“Long Street noise ‘too much’”, November 4). When asked whether she supported the proposed amendment Mrs De Villiers said: “I hope that it will make club owners more aware of the residents’ needs and rights and that they take this into consideration. It seems punitive action is the only reasoning that will be understood, fines are just built into the clubs’ budgets”.

Piers Allen who has been living in Long Street for more than 15 years said the quality of life had plummeted in recent years. “This is due to the noise and repercussions of having so many late-night drinking establishments in Long Street. People-traffic and vehicular-traffic has become enormous; party buses go by at 11pm, and later, passengers whooping and screaming, booster amplifiers making every window in my building reverberate to their awful clamour,” he said.

However, Vusa Mazula owner of Zula Sound Bar said he believed the city needed to consult all parties including clubs before the amendment could be added. He said he understood the grievances of residents but said he thought all parties should come together to discuss the logistics of the area. He said he agreed that developers who intend building residential blocks or hotels in the area should ensure that the windows of their buildings are double-glazed. Mr Mazula said he would be sure to comment when the amendment came up for public participation.

Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) said while he supported the proposed amendment, his concern with noise pollution in the CBD was the state of the City Health Department which seems to be understaffed and out-of-sync with the rate of development in the city. He said businesses were obliged to soundproof their premises before an Entertainment License can be issued. “When a concern is reported, the health department’s assembling of a team to take a noise reading on a specific night seems ill conceived. This testing methodology relies on chance, and as has been experienced, the bars/clubs know in advance about the testing, and just change their behaviour on the designated evening. “The use of a data logger which records audio levels over a longer period (months) seems more appropriate,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding how residents can deal with noise pollution

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 10th December 2010

Monique Duval conducted an email interview with executive director for the City’s health department, Dr Ivan Bromfield, about noise pollution.

Q. What is considered a noise nuisance?

A. Noise nuisance means any sound which disturbs or impairs or may disturb or impair the convenience or peace of any person as defined in the Noise Control Regulations.

Q. What are the legal requirements for establishments which wish to play loud music, for instance a club?

A. Any pub, club or restaurant intending to provide entertainment, must apply for a Place of Entertainment Licence. One of the requirements of City Health for issuing a Place of Entertainment Licence, is that the premises must be adequately soundproofed.

Q. Who is responsible for ensuring that these requirements are met?

A. The City’s Health Department ensures requirements are met before an Entertainment Licence can be issued.

Q. Do bars which don’t have DJs or live bands playing have to soundproof their premises?

A. If no entertainment licence is required, then no soundproofing can be called for by the City unless changes are made to existing facilities.

Q. What is a noise exemption permit and what does it allow?

A. The Noise Control Regulations allow for noisy events to take place by means of first applying for an exemption from the Noise Control Regulations for the duration of the event. Applications for such exemptions are considered by City Health and the granting of such noise exemptions is based upon careful consideration and is granted for limited periods only. A noise exemption temporarily lifts the restrictions on noise so that such events can take place legally.

Q. What criteria needs to be met before a noise exemption permit can be issued?

A. The tolerance for noise from events varies from community to community. The day of the week, cut-off time as well as the nature, footprint and profile of the event would affect what would be considered acceptable. Generally the City is guided by the results of the written comments it receives during the public participation process that the event organiser is required to embark upon, before any application for a noise exemption would be considered. In order to make it possible to host outdoor events, the Noise Control Regulations allow for the issue of a noise exemption so that the limitations on noise levels are temporarily lifted. During this permitted period, noise levels are not normally measured.

Q. What is the maximum time limit for a noise exemption permit?

A. The maximum time limit (cut-off time) applied for, is considered and finally approved by City Health. There is no standing cut-off time applicable to events, however, City Health may impose a cut-off time depending on what is considered reasonable for a particular neighbourhood or event.

Q. Who is responsible for responding to a noise complaint?

A. Depending on the type of noise concerned and where it occurs, City Health, City Law Enforcement as well as South African Police Services (SAPS) may be responsible.

Q. What are officers expected to do?

A. City Health will assess the noise in terms of the Noise Control Regulations for transgression of the noise limitations, and take action, e.g.. a notice, a fine or a summons to court. Law Enforcement or SAPS officers are also able to act against offenders.

Q. In what instance would a fine be issued?

A. Violations of the Noise Control Regulations may result in a fine as determined by a Magistrate. In the event of someone exceeding the ambient noise levels by more than seven decibels (A scale), a “disturbance” would have been caused and the City could take appropriate action. A lesser noise can be acted upon as a noise nuisance whereby affidavits would be required. Violations in terms of the Public Nuisances By-law can invoke fines by the City’s Law Enforcement.

Q. What is the maximum fine that can be issued?

A. Should any person be found guilty of perpetrating a noise nuisance in court a maximum fine of R20 000 or two years imprisonment may be imposed by the magistrate.

Q. Who should residents and businesses call to lay a complaint?

A. Should any residents perceive noise emanating from places of entertainment or any other source, as a noise nuisance or a disturbance, they may submit affidavits that describe the noise nuisance to the nearest environmental health office or to the City’s Health Department’s specialised services and be prepared to provide evidence in court. They can call specialised services on 021 400 3781. Complaints can also be lodged at the Metro Police all hours call centre by calling 021 596 1999. Once such affidavits are received, the local environmental health practitioner will be able to facilitate legal action with assistance from the City’s prosecutor.

Q. Can the City shut down a business if complaints are received, or what are the processes that need to be followed before a place can be shut down based on noise complaints or non-compliance?

A. The City cannot simply close down a business without having gone through the correct legal processes, which include serving notices. The court will decide on whether the business should be closed down or what measures should be taken.

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

They offered us big money but I declined. There was no consultation …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 6th May 2010

Long Street residents and businesses are fuming because they were not consulted about the filming of an advertisement for MTN which took place on Sunday May 2. Convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), Byron Qually said the lack of consultation angered many of the people who live and work in the area. “The filming seemed to be fine, but the consultation is the problem. According to the proposal, the team would be preparing over Friday and Saturday for the shoot on Sunday, but there was no consultation with the residents. “The association was registered with the City to ensure that when events take place in the area, the ratepayers are consulted and our concerns are heard,” Mr Qually said. Mr Qually said he sent a report detailing residents’ concerns to the City on Friday before the filming and he had been discussing the issue with ward councillor, Belinda Walker.

In a report submitted to the City’s film office residents expressed their dismay at not being consulted. One resident said, “With respect to residential rights, the proposal is bordering on the ridiculous, whereby music and noise throughout the weekend and finishing in the early hours of Monday morning, will directly affect the following work week. “Although the LSRA is formally recognised by the City of Cape Town, and is on their database, we are continuously overlooked by the city when events are planned in Long Street. Private film and event companies appear to get their proposals passed by the City without complying with protocols and bylaws. For example noise permits”.

The shoot was done by Bomb Films, based in Gauteng. According to their proposal, the crew required a large number of parking bays on Saturday May 1 which included: 10 parking bays in Long Street, eight parking bays in Bloem Street, eight parking bays in Pepper Street, five bays in Leeuwen Street and two bays in Pepper Street from Friday April 30 into Saturday. The proposal further states that on Saturday May 1, the crew required six officers for the closure of Long Street. The team needed for the film shoot included a preparation crew of 30, a shooting crew of 60 and a cast of 400. It was written by the location manager, Jason Roehrig.

Faroek Kamalie, chairperson of the Palm Tree Mosque said he received a call from Bomb Films who made a request to decorate the tree in front of the mosque for the filming. “They offered us big money but I declined. There was no consultation and no notification about the filming. Many of our people had to park far away,” Mr Kamalie said. Henrietta Dax, owner of Clarke’s book store, said she wasn’t consulted either and had to negotiate with the film company to secure parking bays for her customers. “The store was not affected by the filming which took place on Sunday but I was very upset that I was not consulted. Long Street is a place where people live, work and shop and the road cannot just be closed,” Ms Dax said.

Ms Walker, said she too was notified late last week about the filming. “There were some major concerns about the filming from residents and my first action was that the noise should stop at midnight. It was very difficult to pin down what exactly the film company wanted to do because what they were saying on paper and what they were saying on the phone were conflicting,” Ms Walker said. Head of the City film permit office, Terence Isaacs, said the film permit was granted on Friday April 30 He said the City’s guidelines required consultation between the film company and affected residents and businesses to occur prior to the per mit being issued.

When asked if a communication channel existed between the film office and the LSRA that conveys the information about shoots taking place in the area Mr Isaacs said, “The Film Permit Office (FPO) was alerted to the LSRA by the Central City Improvement District (CCID) representative at a meeting called to discuss the proposed shoot with affected businesses, city services and CCID on Wednesday April 28. A further meeting was then scheduled for the next day which was attended by a member of the LSRA. Currently a direct communication channel is not in place, however the CCID has been doing an excellent job in facilitating contact between the City, businesses and the LSRA”.

CapeTowner tried several times to contact Bomb Films, but at the time of going to print they had not responded.

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