Tag Archives: Dave Bryant

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.

The minstrels parade is an integral part of the city. It is a uniquely Cape Town …

From the CapeTowner, by Sellecca Lang / Monique Duval, 9th December 2010

The Provincial Department of Arts and Culture has stopped the traditional Nuwejaar street march from going into Bo-Kaap and ending at the Cape Town Stadium on Monday January 3 next year. But some of the minstrel and choirs teams are up in arms because the date and route has changed from the agreement with the City. They have given Dr Ivan Meyer, MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, until yesterday, Wednesday December 8 to respond, or they will be taking the matter to court. The initial agreement between the City and Bo-Kaap residents was to allow the annual parade to move from the city, through Bo-Kaap and end at the Cape Town Stadium and was due to take place on Monday January 3 (“Back to Bo-Kaap routes”, CapeTowner, November 18) However the City and the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs released a statement last week stating that not only would the parade not go through Bo-Kaap, it will take place on Saturday January 1. The route, which it has followed since 2008, will see the parade move from Keizergracht, Darling Street, left into Adderley Street through Wale Street and turn right into Bree Street and the marchers will disperse from there. There are 46 000 participants and this year nearly 100 000 spectators watched the spectacle.

Osman Shaboodien of the Bo-Kaap Civic Association, who heads up the consultation between all 115 teams across the City, said they were very disappointed. “We have given a proposal to provincial government saying that some of the minstrel groups are contesting January 1 (Saturday) and secondly, the question about Bo-Kaap. We are giving them 24 hours to respond to our request,” he said. Mr Shaboodien said the street parade traditionally took place on January 2 but because the date falls on a Sunday, the teams do not want to march because of the churches in the area. In discussions with the representatives of the teams, the City suggested that the parade be held as a one-day event with all the teams ending at the stadium. But when Province stepped in, the date was changed to January 1, which was one of the original dates suggested. Mr Shaboodien said the press releases gave the impression that everyone agreed to the changes but the new date will only suit the smaller teams because of transport. “Council came up with the idea.They threw in the carrot and then everybody liked the idea… Province cracked the whip. This is more about power and politics. They took it out of the hands of City. They are meddling with City council stuff,” he said. The four teams in Bo-Kaap will still be allowed to march in the area. “We can negotiate January 1 but that we cannot go into Bo-Kaap is non-negotiable,” said Mr Shaboodien. He said since the province joined the meetings, there have been no talks about going to the stadium.

Greg Wagner, the MEC’s media liaison officer, said the only official communications were the three joint media releases. “Any other information remains unofficial and was as a result of preliminary discussions before any decisions were made,” he said. Mr Wagner said the parade cannot go to the stadium for the new year because of the short-timing and the logistics. “To ensure the successful staging of these events, a number of logistics must be considered, including traffic flow, safety and security of participants and spectators, business opening hours, available resources and emergency services personnel, impact on local residents, and preserving this living heritage, among others,” said Mr Wagner. “We are looking at the stadium for the future. It won’t be possible for this year… But it hasn’t been ruled out (for the future),” he said. Mr Wagner said the province was always involved in planning because it provides funding and services to the teams. “The two spheres of government have always supported the minstrels. This year, Province and City decided to work as one team, pool resources, funding and to invest in the long-term growth and quality of the event,” he said. The rental of the stadium for all three tiers is R500 000 and for two tiers is R350 000. He said added costs include services such as security and cleansing, traffic and transport, utility charges, the duration of the event and how many shifts will be needed, the protection of the pitch with and fencing. He said the City and Province contribute annually to the services. “The City’s budget for municipal and contractor services for the 2011 road march is approximately R1.7 million,” said Mr Wagner. Mr Wagner said there were economic benefits for the community. “The R900 000 external services and goods the City procures for the event, benefits smaller businesses. Every participants’ uniform is worth an average of R350, so there are opportunities in material supplies, uniform manufacturing as well as catering and transport,” he said.

Residents have welcomed the event. Bob Goebel, chairperson on the Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said they welcomed the street parade to the stadium. Bree Street resident Russell Wightman said: “Although I was not informed, I certainly don’t mind. The minstrels parade is a tradition in the city and I’m sure many residents will join the celebrations.” Long Street resident and convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), Byron Qually said the association was not informed of the new route. The area covered by the association includes all residential properties from Queen Victoria Street to Buitengracht. “The minstrels parade is an integral part of the city. It is a uniquely Cape Town event that is inclusive and open to all. This cultural event will see many Capetonian come to the city to celebrate its heritage unlike other events which are aimed at making money,” said Mr Qually. He said residents needed to be informed of how the parade would be managed and of road closures. Mr Qually said in the past few months many events seemed to be concentrated in the upper Long Street are and he was glad that the minstrels parade would give exposure to other parts of the city. Dave Bryant, executive support officer for ward Councillor Belinda Walker, said Ms Walker was present during the discussions and that she supported the current route. “She supported the route as the initial plan to have 46 000 people walking through Rose Street just wasn’t practical. What we aim to do is turn this event into an international one as it is the biggest cultural event to take place in the city. With all the various groups involved it is often complicated to formalise such an event,” Mr Bryant said. He said the detailed traffic plan which includes the road closures will be released soon.

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