Tag Archives: Chez Ntemba

Understanding the law and how clubs operate without a license …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No answer provided.

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

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

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

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

Primary actions from the meeting:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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