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
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