Tag Archives: CapeTowner Newspaper

Long Street needs innovative solutions, not more legislation …

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

The debate around the sale and consumption of alcohol at the outside tables in Long Street has reached fever pitch with owners of establishments claiming it could have a negative effect on business (“’Kerbing’ boozing”, CapeTowner November 1). The issue was first raised in the ward forum meeting where ward councillor Dave Bryant said there had been ongoing discussions about whether it was legal to drink outside. Owners of bars and pubs were fuming last week after they were fined.

John Davidson from Bob’s Bar said while he wasn’t aware of any new fines being issued this past weekend, he feared the banning of alcohol consumption would not only have devastating effects on his businesses but it could change the vibe of the street. Mr Davidson said if tables and chairs were causing problems relating to crime then the safety aspect should be dealt with, taking away the tables wouldn’t solve the problem.

“The tables outside add to the vibe of Long Street and banning the sale and consumption of alcohol could prove detrimental to business. It’s important for authorities to understand that all of this is linked. “If you take away the tables and move drinking inside, the businesses will see a loss of income and so it will affect the amount of staff we employ, for example. It also part of what Long Street is about, who wants to come to a pub and be forced to have a beer inside on the hot summer days,” he said.

Graham Albone, co-owner of Mojitos agreed and estimated that if he could not serve alcohol at the outside tables he would have lay off at least three staff members. “In Europe you can have a drink at the outside tables so why not in a city like Cape Town? “As long as the tables are not hampering pedestrian flow then I don’t see what the issue is,” he said. Mr Albone said that according to the leasing form he received from the City of Cape Town he had permission to have six tables outside his establishment and said there was no indication on the lease that he couldn’t serve alcohol out-side.

“Mojitos has been open for a while now and I have never been told it’s a problem. I really don’t understand why it’s an issue and I don’t understand why the focus is on Long Street. “Yes, there are crime issues but it’s not related to the tables and chairs, I have seen more bag snatchings inside establishments than outside,” he said. Darren Gunn, a manager at the Dubliner said while the issue of serving alcohol on the pavements didn’t really affect them as they stopped serving alcohol outside at 11pm, he believed taking it away is a “bad idea”. In previous comment Mr Bryant said serving alcohol on the pavements was illegal and that the City was looking at implementing a new leasing system to make provision for the consumption of alcohol at the outside tables.

However, when asked for clarity on the legality of the outside tables Philip Prinsloo, spokesperson for the Western Cape Liquor Authority, said it wasn’t illegal as long as establishments had permission to do so. He explained that permission to trade on the pavement is given by the City, which stipulates the conditions. “When applying for a liquor licence, applicants attach the letter from the City of Cape Town. Part of the requirements is for the applicant to hand in a comprehensive floor plan and site plan. If they are trading lawfully, they should not be penalised,” he said. Mr Prinsloo explained that if the application is granted the tables are marked as part of the designated liquor area so establishments that have permission from the licensing tribunal cannot be fined.

Mr Bryant said he had held meeting with mayoral committee member for economic, environment and spatial planning, Alderman Belinda Walker, about the issue. “We are waiting for legal opinion and while there have been proposals like marking the trading area we need to hear the legal opinion before we do anything. “We want to put a system in place to ensure that establishments are compliant and we certainly don’t want to take the tables away,” Mr Bryant said.

Long Street resident and research and design consultant Byron Qually believes that a creative approach and innovative solutions can be found that suits pubs and clubs as well as the authorities. He said as a resident who frequents the coffee shops and restaurants on Long Street, he didn’t have a problem with alcohol consumption on the pavements and didn’t agree with the notion that the tables are a crime generator. He agreed with establishments that the banning of alcohol at the outside tables would take away from the vibe of Long Street and said the unique open socialisation between establishments and even pedestrians is key to Long Street’s character and success.

“The use of legislation and by-laws to resolve concerns appears to be the primary approach by the City. Many of these laws are antiquated and date back to a very different Cape Town, and the by-laws tend to top-up rather than bring a new approach to problem resolution. “There is no clear design answer to the problem of crime in Long Street, though there are many process that can be used to help find one, for example participatory design. Similarly the issues we are facing are not unique, and many international design against crime initiatives have been set up. “As these examples note, the solutions that design could bring is not by subtraction, but by addition. In other words, with creative approaches and innovative solutions, an inclusive solution can be found that suits the Long Street community.”

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

Refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street pool …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 25th October 2012

Although the refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street Pool has been considered a low priority by the City, an architect has decided that the unique facility deserves more attention. Karinina Ingwersen from Oranjezicht tabled her report on the complex to the ward forum at a meeting held on Tuesday October 16 where she explained that she has re-drawn all the floor plans to give officials a better understanding of what the property consists of and what work needed to be done. “It s a unique facility and we cannot let it deteriorate any further. I drew the report to motivate the refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street Pool. “I think it is an embarrassment. Long Street is such a vibrant part of Cape Town and so I feel we must do something about the amenity which is already used by many in the community,” she said.

In her report, Ms Ingwersen outlines the issues including the basic maintenance it requires and she has made proposals on the adjustment of the layout to optimise its usage. She explained that the facility consists of six erven which are zoned general commercial and general residential. The pool was built in 1908 and the Turkish Baths were inaugurated by Councillor Sam Goldstein in May 1927. According to a plaque which dates back to 1998, the murals inside the Turkish Baths were painted by Gregg Smith. Ms Ingwersen said the architectural style of the building could be defined as Art Nouveau and Victorian. She said while the interior of the Turkish Baths had a Middle East ambience, as would be appropriate for its function and cultural originality. She said the amenity is situated in a conservation area and is protected by the National Heritage Resources Act.

Ms Ingwersen told the forum the baths and pool were in dire need of an upgrade and general maintenance would not be enough. “I really hope this helps motivate the City to do something, the longer we wait, the more derelict it will become and even more expensive to remedy,” she said. The facility first came under the spotlight nearly two years ago when former ward councillor, Belinda Walker said visitor numbers were dropping. In previous comment given to the CapeTowner, mayoral committee member for community services, Tandeka Gqada said the City was currently tiling the hot room, two steam rooms, and the floor, installing new benches in the sauna and carrying out electrical repairs at the Turkish Baths (“Turkish baths a low priority, says City”, CapeTowner, October 4). In her proposal, Ms Ingwersen said maintenance would form a big part of the overall renovation and so should be done simultaneously.

Her proposal includes ideas to create a new passage that will run from the entrance to the pool. “This will offer more controlled access. At present access for all is either through these change rooms – compromising security and privacy – or through the upper level passage and balcony onto the spectator seating, and therefore are not ideal options,’ she said. Her proposal also includes further changes to the mezzanine level, the change rooms and the general clean-up of the Turkish Baths. Ms Ingwersen estimated that the refurbishment of the facility could cost up to R10 million and questions on what basis it was ranked as a low priority. “Here is a straightforward opportunity waiting to be taken by the council: to turn around the existing overall deteriorating situation into a beneficial and vibrant place of healthy activity, where developed potential opportunities will secure a more viable financial basis.

“It will be a successful project to be proud of, a social upliftment confirmation and a far better financially rewarding enterprise. The proverbial feather in the cap. “Future maintenance will be remarkably reduced to a minimum. “Hopefully this report will serve as convincing incentive and motivation to secure adequate fund allocation for a well-deserving project,” she said. Ward councillor Dave Bryant said while he welcomed the report he didn’t think the City would be able to fund it but that it shouldn’t deter the community from raising funds. “I think it’s great that she has put this plan together but I think at the moment it’s a bit out of the reach for the City. It was very interesting and we will soon set up a meeting to discuss the report with her,” Mr Bryant said.

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.”

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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.

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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.

Dismay when only three people turned up …

From the CapeTowner, 6th September 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long Street: an inspiration and home to Pieter-Dirk Uys …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 31st June 2012

Sitting on the balcony of the Carnival Court Backpackers on the upper end of Long Street, the sun shines through an array of modern high-rise buildings and warms the cold air. With its Victorian architecture and railings, the building tells a long story of its residents and bustling Long Street. Built in 1902, the building situated at 255 Long Street, was designed by English architect George Ransome and was used as a boarding house for many years.

“It was actually built as luxury apartments for the ‘well-to-do’,” said owner Christoph von Walter. Mr Von Walter, who acquired the building in 1993, said he could still remember the funny yet colourful characters and “professional ladies” who occupied the building, adding to the ambience of the street. The four-storey building which consists of many dorm-like rooms with communal shower facilities, now operates as a backpackers lodge.

“I used to run a shirt-making factory in Buiten Street and in 1993 I saw that this building had potential. I bought the building which was owned by the district surgeon of Paarl, and remember when I took over as landlord, the building was filled with many colourful characters and professional ladies. But as we started cleaning the building up, many of the tenants left,” he said. In the 1970s, the building and its residents became the subject of many people’s conversations.

According to author, actor and activist Pieter-Dirk Uys, “the show was never over in Long Street”. This is how he described the bustling street in his book Between the Devil and the Deep: A Memoir of Acting and Reacting. Mr Uys, well known for his persona Evita Bezuidenhout, lived in the area from 1972 to 1975 while working at the Space Theatre. “I lived in a selection of places – in Bloem Street with a front door that could never close. Carnival Court up in the roof. Then across on the corner of Long and Buiten, first on the top floor, and then on the first floor above the fish and chips shop that sent us huge cockroaches.

“From that balcony we looked across to Carnival Court and the intersection of Long and Buiten where so much action took place,” he said. In his play, Karnaval, Mr Uys takes a look at the goings-on in the boarding house today known as the Carnival Court Backpackers. The play is set on New Year’s Eve in 1975 on the first floor of the boarding house as the residents get ready for a night out while discussing, among other things, the party happening across the road.

In his book, he wrote: “Sitting in our kaftans on the verandah of our rented flat above the fish and chips shop, Maralin, Grethe Fox and I would look over at the balconies of Carnival Court and the activity among the residents. “Those ‘girlies’ and their friends inspired my play Karnaval. I didn’t have to use much imagination. I just had to look out of the window.” The play opened on July 12, 1976 but after only 10 performances, it was banned by the censors.

Asked what inspired him to write the play, Mr Uys said the story of Carnival Court needed to be told. “Young people from the platteland, boarding in the city and falling foul of the laws of land and church. “Their sense of humour. And their comments about us watching them from the other side of the road. Now I look at the play and it’s surreal – a story about white people in Long Street – with the exception of the coloured youth referred to as honourary white. “I shared drinks with them at the Mountview Bar, shouted across the road for them to shut up and they shouted back.

“I invited them all to a preview of the play, quite nervous that they would be upset that I had so shamelessly presented their lives. “They were moved to tears,” he said. Mr Von Walter explained that the building has undergone many renovations over the years aimed at restoring its heritage. “The bottom part of the building, which today houses Long Street Café, used to be home to the legendary Cranford’s Book Shop.

“Over the years it was also a Russian restaurant called Cossack’s; we had a chef from Moscow and the restaurant experience was topped by swinging chandeliers,” he said. Mr Von Walter said after many of the building’s tenants vacated it during the 1990s, it became a hostel for student accommodation . “But later backpacking started to take off in Cape Town so it was converted into a party hostel for travelling students,” he said. Today Carnival Court which consists of rooms, a bar and recreational areas is known for attracting students from all over world who wish to experience the vibey Long Street.

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

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.

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.

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.