Tag Archives: Lungiswa James

Missing characters in City management?

From the Cape Argus, by Monique Duval
, 4th February 2013

Long Street is the centre of Cape Town’s nightlife but noise issues are turning nightclub and hotel owners against each other. At a meeting hosted at the Pepper Club hotel this week to discuss noise in the Long Street area, Bettie Leedo from the city’s Health Department said they were looking at a new by-law to counter problems faced by the municipality in licensing nightclubs under the Business Act.

The meeting, attended by city officials, the Western Cape Liquor Authority, property developers, residents and nightclub owners, erupted in heated debate over the noise, with some bar owners accusing developers of not researching the area before building hotels. But developers and property owners hit back, saying many of them had spent millions investing in the area and were not prepared to sit back and let their investments slide.

Lawyer Derek Wille, who represents the Pepper Club, said his client was losing millions of rand as guests often checked out or demanded refunds as they could not get sleep over weekends. Leedo said under the Business Act the city could not close clubs that traded without the necessary licences and instead took legal action through the municipal courts. “This is a lengthy process. In one instance the city started legal proceedings against a nightclub in December 2011. The case has been postponed five times.

Since 2009, the city has received an increase in noise complaints from the Long Street area. We sought legal opinion on whether the municipality could write its own by-law pertaining to business licences and we’ve recently received feedback.” Good Hope sub-council chairman Taki Amira said the issues in Long Street were a result of the “retro-fitting of nightclubs into old buildings”. He said that a brief haul been sent to the mayor’s office for a new by-law and said the first draft was expected to be completed at the end of this month.

Byron Qually, convener of the Long Street Residents’ Association said: “The city has a comprehensive break-down on the effects of noise pollution ranging from health and work performance and behaviour. While these points are valid, they provide negligible documentation on how property investments are losing value due to an area being considered uninhabitable. Mayoral committee member for health Lungiswa James confirmed the City would be proposing a new by-law but said it was difficult to put a time frame on the process as it required public participation.

Copyright Cape Argus Newspaper

The City does not have the authority to …

From the Cape Times, by Caryn Dolley
, 8th December 2012

More than a third of nightclubs along the popular city entertainment strip, Long Street, are operating without the necessary licences and the city does not have the authority to shut them down. Mayoral committee member for health Lungiswa James said according to city health records, 19 nightclubs were operating in Long Street. He said of these clubs:

– Seven have been issued with business licences to operate as nightclubs.
– One was refused a licence, the owner reapplied for one and this was being re-assessed.
– Seven have pending licence applications.
– Four face legal action to ensure compliance (one’s licence is under consideration, one has been warned to apply for a business licence, one’s owner was found guilty of non-compliance and the fourth must still be inspected).

James said the Business Act did not authorise city officials to close an unlicensed club. “The city must therefore fine or summons errant owners to court where a magistrate may decide to close the premises while the owner obtains the applicable licence. “In terms of the city’s Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisance by-law we have no authority to close licensed or unlicensed premises,” he said. James said the ownership of nightclubs changed frequently and with each new owner, the prescribed legal process needed to be followed.

City health members inspected licensed nightclubs at least once every three months. Unlicensed premises, and premises about which complaints had been received, were inspected more often. In Loop Street, parallel to Long Street, a club, The Loop, has operated without the necessary licence for nearly a year. James said a recommendation to issue an entertainment licence could not be made due to outstanding requirements relating to approval of building plans and submission of a noise impact assessment.

The Loop’s general manager, Vaughan Cragg, told the Cape Times the club had a liquor licence. He said “70 percent of the places in Long Street don’t have business licences”. James said the owner of The Loop had been summoned to court “for trading without the required business licence”. He said an application for a business licence for The Loop was made in the name of a company, The Business Zone 983 CC, and a person by the name of Mark Roy Lifman was listed as being in charge.

Earlier this year Lifman, a Sea Point businessman, was arrested in connection with another matter – allegedly running the bouncer company Specialised Protection Services (SPS) without being registered with the Private Security Regulatory Authority, as required by law. SPS operated at 60 percent of the province’s clubs, including the majority in Long Street, before being shut down.

The Long Street Residents’ Association website said while it believed entertainment was “crucial to the development of Long Street”, noise was problematic. Richard Bosman, the city’s executive director of safety and security, said if noise complaints were received, a process would be followed including issuing a written warning and possibly the impounding of equipment.

Copyright Cape Times Newspaper.

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.

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.

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.

Unlicensed night-club, and residents who fear victimisation …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 19th January 2012

While residents and night-clubs in the CBD continue their fight over excessive noise, The Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) has launched a scathing attack on City officials claiming they are ill-equipped to deal with noise contraventions. The statements were made after the association tried to assist Pepper Street residents who raised concerns about The Loop nightclub which, they said, was operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence and causing a noise nuisance. The CapeTowner was contacted in December last year by residents complaining about the noise. However, all the residents refused to be named because they said they were afraid of victimisation.

LSRA convenor Byron Qually said the first complaint was received on Monday December 19. “We received reports that The Loop was playing music ‘beyond excessive’ every night until after 4am, and is operating without an entertainment licence. “We reassured residents that their concern is by no means isolated, and that it forms part of an ongoing battle with the City Environmental Health Department over the last three years about noise pollution. “We gave them practical advice and told them who in local government would be able to take their concerns further, in an attempt to save them time in navigating a very confusing City structure,” Mr Qually said.

City media manager Kylie Hatton confirmed that the club was operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence. She said an application was made on Wednesday December 21 after the club had been fined. “The licence has not yet been finalised as comments are still awaited from all reporting departments. The City’s health department received three complaints in December,” she said. Ms Hatton also said that affidavits have been submitted to the legal department on Thursday December 29, for a summons to be issued to the owners of the nightclub to appear in court for operating without a licence.

Vaughan Cragg, general manager of The Loop, said the club’s management was fulfilling the requirements for the nightclub to be licensed. “We applied for our business and entertainment licences before we opened. It is well known that it takes time to apply for a licence. Various people have to come inspect the club, and if there are problems, they advise us, the problem is rectified and they come to inspect again,” he said. “Having plans approved takes the longest. We are aware of the requirements. I used to manage Joburg Bar and the Dubliner in Long Street, and had to go through the same process.

“Many bars in Long Street are yet to get their business or entertainment licences,” Mr Cragg said. He told the CapeTowner the only complaint he was aware of was when a man approached him on opening night about excessive noise and he had been dealing with authorities since then. He said the club had installed soundproofing and was operating on a temporary liquor licence. Mr Cragg said that the club was owned by The Business Zone 963cc. In December, the CapeTowner was invited to attend the media launch of The Loop. The public relations company said the club was owned by Gareth Botha, Wai-Szee Sing and Mark Lifman.

Mr Qually said since the LSRA started to assist residents with complaints about The Loop, there have been several emails between city officials and the association about noise issues. “Some of our concerns include that the City’s Environmental Health Department systems are outdated and out of tune with the rate of CBD urbanisation, the requirements of city developers and lack of strategic insight; and willingness to hide behind bureaucratic confusion. “In our correspondence with the City, we unsurprisingly received the usual retroactive and bureaucratic response from them, inasmuch as they are concerned about the ‘scourge of unwanted noise’ in the CBD and would like to have a meeting to discuss it further. “We have not responded, partly due to complete frustration and disbelief that yet again another meeting is required, but also to do some background research on how other cities are assisting their residents in resolving noise pollution issues,” he said. Mr Qually said the City was well aware of residents’ frustrations at clubs operating without licences

Mayoral Committee Member for Health Lungiswa James said the majority of complaints received by the City’s Health Department from the CBD relate to the noise made by night-clubs. “Some unscrupulous or ignorant new owners trade without the necessary business licences and therefore without the required soundproofing installed or change sound systems when they take over the clubs. “As a result of this trend, since 2009 the health department has moved from being reactive in its response to noise complaints to proactively increasing the number of night-time visits to the CBD to identify premises as soon as possible after they open or change ownership. “The success of this strategy is confirmed by the increase in fines and court cases instituted by staff of the health department relating to unlicensed places of entertainment operating in the CBD.

“In 2008 four cases were recorded, 2009, 2010, and 2011 saw an average of 25 cases a year on record,” he said. Mr James said that as with any contravention, action can only be taken as dictated within the confines of the legislation. “In this regard the penal provisions of the National Businesses Act of 1991 are woefully inadequate 20 years after it was promulgated. “We have therefore formed close working relationships with the South African Police Service, Law Enforcement as well as the Legal Section so that noise complaints in the CBD are prioritised and contraventions of any legislation, not just the failure to licence the premises, are acted upon,” he said. Mr James said with the Cape Town City Improvement District a pamphlet was drawn up for distribution to residents explaining how to deal with noise in the CBD.

When asked whether residents who feared victimisation could make anonymous complaints, Mr James said: “The Loop is trading without the necessary licence. In this case, residents can stay anonymous when lodging a complaint and the details of any complainants are not provided to the courts or to the nightclub owners”. He said the Business Act did not make provision for the closure of unlicensed premises by officials and had to be authorised by a magistrate.

However, Mr Qually said one of the association’s biggest concerns was how the City measures the success of its noise interventions. “From a residential perspective, measurement of success is quite simple. Has the noise been reduced to an acceptable level? “The City on the other hand, provides various internal performance statistics to prove that they are doing their job. From the LSRA records, it is without a doubt that noise pollution and unlicensed clubs are on the increase regardless of the rate of fines and legal interventions,” he said.

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

‘Bar’ owner denies wrong doing, but city resident finds justice in court …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 4th August 2011

Burg Street resident, Quahnita Samie is glad that O’Driscoll’s Irish Pub was found guilty of causing a noise nuisance. The City took the pub to court after receiving affidavits and complaints from Ms Samie over the past two years and after a long court battle, owner Alan Dunne was found guilty at the municipal courts on Wednesday July 13. However, Mr Dunne is planning to appeal the ruling on the basis that the “magistrate erred when reviewing the evidence”.

Ms Samie who returned from an overseas trip was glad to hear the news. She said she had endured many sleepless nights since moving into the area in 2009. “I am glad that the pub was found guilty of the offence; it has been an unpleasant experience and I hope that Mr Dunne will stop the loud music and heavy bass. “Should he wish to trade in such a manner then it is imperative that he take necessary steps to soundproof the premises. “I am also glad that I did not choose to leave my home and sincerely hope that the intimidation and constant reference to me having a vendetta against him will stop. I just really want to enjoy my home. “I would have assumed that given the outcome there would have been consequences in terms of a fine or an issue prohibiting the pub from playing loud music.

The regulations make reference to a fine or imprisonment or both if found guilty of an offence and in the event of a continuing contravention. “Reference is also made to confiscating equipment being used to generate music and amplified sound. I trust that these measures will be implemented should the matter be ongoing. The authorities need to be harsh as this case has dragged over a long time,” she said. However, Mr Dunne said he would be appealing the ruling on the basis that the magistrate erred when reviewing the evidence. Mr Dunne told the CapeTowner that one of the witnesses in the case, [Removed] who lived in the building next to Ms Samie and closer to the pub testified that she had not experienced loud music coming from the pub.

He said [Removed] had a “nervous” cat which was unaffected by the activities at the pub. Mr Dunne said he takes exception to excerpts from the ruling in which the judge said because [Removed] lived next to the pub she would not be affected by the noise. “This is wrong. She lives opposite the pub just like Ms Samie so if there was any noise then she too should have been affected. There were many anomalies in the ruling and my lawyers will be lodging an appeal soon,” he said. Mr Dunne said the ordeal had resulted in his pub losing business over time. “Ms Samie makes constant phone calls to the Central City Improvement District (CCID), The Metro Police and SAPS. “It’s bad for business and my profits are down my at least 20% because of this. Imagine you are having drinks with friends at my pub and you constantly see police coming to the premises. People will start to think there is something dodgy here and stop visiting the pub. This is not a night club it’s a pub,” he said.

Councillor Lungiswa James, Mayoral Committee Member for Health said the City summonsed Mr Dunne to court for causing a noise nuisance and for trading without a valid health and entertainment licence. The noise nuisance charge was supported by affidavits from Ms Samie. He said the first complaints about the pub were received in December 2009. According to the ruling Mr Dunne was found guilty and cautioned. When asked what the penalty was for being found guilty Mr James said: “The imposition of a sentence is at the discretion of the presiding officer. A warning or caution is not that unusual. Whether a pecuniary fine, alternatively imprisonment or a warning is given, the effect is that it is still being considered as a conviction for record purposes”.

In previous statements City Health director, Dr Ivan Bromfield confirmed that the pub was trading without a health and entertainment license. Mr James said Mr Dunne applied for a licence in April 2010 but said it was not issued as he had not complied with requirements set by the fire and health departments. “During his last court appearance on Wednesday July 13 Mr Dunne verbally withdrew this application,” Mr James said. Mr Dunne said the health and entertainment licence only applied to establishments who wanted to have live music playing and said he applied for one after being informed by City officials he was required to do so. He said because he hardly had live bands playing he didn’t need the licence. When asked whether the ruling would now count against Mr Dunne if he did apply for a health and entertainment licence, Mr James said: The Businesses Act allows for the criminal record of a person applying for a health and entertainment licence to be interrogated, and the contents to be taken into consideration when determining the suitability of the applicant to hold such licence. “It is standard procedure to submit the criminal record of applicants to sub-councils to aid in the decision making process”.

Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) said they welcomed the ruling. “Ms Samie made countless attempts to inform the pub owner of noise pollution emanating from his establishment which was affecting her residential block. Instead of working with the residents to find a solution, the owner of the pub just choose to ignore her. “Even when confronted by noise measurement readings and Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security, JP Smith (“Pub battle rages on”, CapeTowner, March 31) who came to personally review the situation, the owner remained defiant. “The LSRA was aware of what Ms Samie had to go through to resolve this matter, I sincerely hope her ordeal is not the benchmark for other residents. It is frustrating to be aware of how long it took for the issue to be resolved, and how many court appearances the owner did not turn up to, and most shamefully, how the noise pollution staff at the City’s Health Department tended to hide behind bureaucratic confusion. “It is also irresponsible, and possibly even illegal, for a company owner to be so openly reckless with his business, and directly place the livelihood and financial security of his staff at risk,” Mr Qually said.

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