Tag Archives: South African Police Service (SAPS)

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.

Unwitting contradiction in the City wanting residents to …

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

There have been mixed reactions to the new liquor policy which will allow pubs, clubs and other establishments to apply to extend their trading hours. The policy, which was explained to councillors at the Good Hope Sub-council meeting, on Monday April 16, will allow for establishments to extend their trading hours to no later than 4am, provided they fulfil certain requirements.

Sub-council chairman, Taki Amira, said the policy followed the amendments to the Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-Law which came into effect on Sunday April 1. According to the Act the trading hours for the sale of liquor are to be stipulated by the municipality. The cut-off time was 2am but the bylaw was amended to allow onconsumption premises to apply for an extension to trade until 4am, provided they meet the criteria set out by the City. But the City has to consult with the ward councillor, ratepayers’ associations and residents before it can grant an extension.

Christa Hugo from the City’s health department explained how the policy will work. She said only establishments which fall in business or industrial nodes may apply for the extensions. “The application will work in two parts, the first part will require establishments to go to the Land Use Management Department to ensure that their property is zoned correctly. “If they are not, their application will not be considered.

The applicant will then have to go to the Metro Police and Law Enforcement to get clearance from these departments to see whether they have contravened any laws regarding noise, liquor or whether there have been complaints against their business,” she said. Establishments will then have to pay a R5 000 application fee which will be processed by the health department. City health will then forward the application to the subcouncil, who will get feedback from the community before making a decision on whether to grant the application,” Ms Hugo said. Mr Amira said the policy will apply to new liquor licences and renewals.

Ward councillor Dave Bryant said: “This is a positive step. In areas such as Long Street there are legitimate businesses who would qualify for the extension.” “The City will not be granting extensions willy nilly and will consult the community on these applications. The new laws call for liquor traders to become more responsible,” Mr Bryant said.

Vusa Mazula, co-owner of Zula Bar in Long Street said he felt he had no choice but to apply for the extension. “With the way business is in Cape Town, we must apply for the extension. The 2am cut-off time was simply too early and would have killed our business. I think the application fee of R5 000 is a bit steep but I welcome the policy and the amendments to the by-law as it is giving us a fair chance,” he said.

Residents however, have slammed the new policy as they feared it would not be policed properly. Buiten Street resident Geoff Madsen said he thought the extension should only be given to compliant businesses. “The extension policy adds noise, security and criminal activity to the area. “Research should be done on who the patrons are at that time of morning and what economic value the city and businesses achieve for the extra two hours of operation,” he said.

Residents had enough problems with clubs that traded until 2am, said one woman who did not want to be identified. “This refers to the noise and music a nightclub produces, but also to noise generated by patrons inside and outside the venue. “Patrons tend to be loud while walking to their cars, they laugh, giggle and shout. I often find myself looking forward to 2am because I know that the music will be turned off and that there will be fewer people shouting in the street “If the City did grant an extension till 4am, I think that this could only be done if venues with full soundproofing and a venue that has never had a noise complaint. “I don’t know of a single properly soundproof venue in the city and I also cannot think of a single venue that has not been complained about. “Further, if the City is already struggling to control and enforce the law on existing clubs with a 2am cut-off time, I sincerely doubt they will be able to enforce further laws to a 4 am cut-off time. Plain and simple, bad idea,” she said.

Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association said the knock-on effect of the liquor trading hours was the problem not the by-law. “In principle, the extension seems to suit bars, clubs and residents. “However, from our experience with City by-laws and even basic licensing, the management and follow through of policy, particularly if it involves City Health, is highly questionable,” he said.

Janis Ross, said the trustees of the Ross Family Trust which and owns Maremoto in Long Street will object vehemently and rigorously to any extension of trading hours for the clubs surrounding their business which are causing severe noise problems.

A hotel manger who refused to be named due to threats from nearby clubs, said the extensions should not be granted. “I don’t see why there is a need for people to drink until 4am. There are businesses in Long Street that already trade until 4am without having any of the special licenses. I doubt very much that it will be policed properly or whether our complaints and objections will be taken seriously.

Clearly the bars, pubs and nightclubs are more important than the residents and accommodation establishments,” she said. Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman, Henry Giddy, said the extension was a good idea as it helped give residents a better chance to have their say. “Residents now need to empower themselves and make their voices heard on applications. The extension policy gives the power to residents and I would definitely label it as an enabler. “The liquor forum will also look closely at these applications and communicate with the community and when necessary, we will object,” he said.

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

In a follow up letter to the article above, Liquor policy Patrick Labrosse, Vicechairman, City Bowl Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association Regarding the Liquor extension policy. As usual, the devil is in the detail. Whether the cut-off time is 2am or 4am is only a question of degree in the inconvenience to residents.

In theory, this policy reads as reasonable and workable. But the club owners – the prime source of complaints – have been exceedingly good at ignoring the law and dragging any process on to their advantage (unlike the affected residents, club owners can afford the legal teams for dilatory tactics).

Some events organisers have also been guilty of ignoring agreed-upon hours and noise levels. The City needs the will to enforce the regulations; the muscle to enforce them; quick reaction times to discourage tentative offenders to try their luck.

Latest information indicates that this is the intention and the policy should lead to better coordination between the SAPS, the City and other parties. Added pluses are that the community will have to be consulted through the ward councillors, the ward committees, the ratepayers, and advertising to directly affected neighbours.

There is also the new ALF (Area Liquor Forum) just coming into life. And, together with a couple of added legal changes that should help, the maximum fine has been increased to R1 million. So it does seem that the City is giving itself the legal muscle to deal with problem establishments. It is also understood that the effect will not be felt immediately but progressively through liquor licence renewal applications.

There is an unwitting contradiction in the City wanting residents to return to the CBD but failing to date to ensure the conditions for residential life there and allowing clubs to defeat that aim. In the name of property redevelopment and bringing life back to parts of the CBD areas, the City has allowed after-hours leisure businesses to proliferate to the point where residents are considering moving out.

A single, wild-cat club can affect several blocks and hundreds of residents, so property developers should – and most likely do – welcome a policy that appears to want to deal with the problem. But only experience will show how effective these measures are. The other side – the errant club owners – are often brazen and do not lack resources and the affected residents are the ones on the front lines in this long battle.

Effectiveness will therefore require every part to function as intended and sustainably, including, of course, last but not least, the courts.

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.

When the Metro Police were trying to issue a fine, Mr Dunne refused to give …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 31st March 2011

An irate Burg Street resident is so fed up with a noisy pub in her street that she has resorted to all sorts of desperate measures to get the owners to turn down the volume including calling Mayco member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith for help. Quahnita Samie said the O’Driscoll’s Irish Pub and Restaurant on the corner of Hout and Burg streets caused a disturbance on St Patrick’s Day (Thursday March 17).

She said the pub continues to play loud music even though the City has taken the owner to court for being a noise nuisance and trading without a Health and Entertainment licence. She claimed that owner Alan Dunne and his girlfriend Zelda Holtzman, former Western Cape deputy provincial police commissioner, were interfering with police officers and stopping them from taking action. “I have a letter from the City which clearly states that the pub’s owner does not have the relevant licence and it is not allowed to play loud music, but Ms Holtzman kept interfering and telling officers they had a licence,” she said. She said after calling various police agencies including law enforcement, Metro Police and SAPS she became fed-up after not receiving any help.

Ms Samie said out of desperation she called Mr Smith in the early hours of the morning for assistance. “When I phoned him, he told me about the public places and the prevention of noise nuisance by-law and the proposed amendments which will allow City officials to impound the sound equipment of noisy pubs, clubs and restaurants. He seemed unable to assist so I decided to leave my home for the evening,” she said. However, Mr Smith arrived at Burg Street to see for himself, but by then Ms Samie had already left. Mr Smith said he arrived at the pub and tried to speak to the owner.“There was an obvious noise disturbance, I have never been to the pub before but I could hear the music from Strand Street,” he said.

Mr Smith said he called the Metro Police for assistance and tried to speak to the owner. He said an argument started between himself and Mr Dunne, who he said was “belligerent, aggressive and unpleasant”. “He stood for 30 minutes just insulting me. When the Metro Police were trying to issue a fine, Mr Dunne refused to give his name. He continued to argue with me and I tried to explain that because he had no noise abatement he was breaking the law and causing a nuisance to residents. He said that only one resident had complained but I informed him that it didn’t matter how many residents complained the point is the pub was breaking the law,” Mr Smith said.

When asked whether he could confirm Ms Samie’s allegations that Ms Holtzman was interfering, Mr Smith said: “She was definitely interceding by giving officers inaccurate information. “I had to continually refer them to their fine books showing them that the pub was in fact breaking the law and it needed to be fined.” However, Mr Dunne has denied all the allegations and said the pub was a respectable and quiet establishment. He said he was not aggressive towards Mr Smith and said in his opinion the Metro Police were bullied into issuing a fine. “Mr Smith came in here as if he was the chief of police. I later learned that he was a councillor and an Alderman,” Mr Dunne said. Mr Dunne confirmed that he was in a relationship with Ms Holtzman but denied that she interfered by giving Metro Police officers inaccurate information. “There were no grounds for police to take action as the bar was not transgressing any law so no, she did not interfere,” he said.

However, Mr Smith said he responded to the complaint to observe whether or not the allegations made by Ms Samie were true. He said Metro Police officers issued a fine based on the fact that the music could be heard outside the venue. Complaints Last year, Ms Samie spoke out about how she was affected by the noise (“Pub refuses to cork it”, CapeTowner, November 11). Ms Samie made several complaints to the City’s health department and has submitted affidavits. She first moved to the area in June 2009. She said the noise was unbearable and first raised her concerns with City officials in November 2009.

Executive director for the City’s health department Dr Ivan Bromfield said his department received the first complaint in 2009 and a warning letter was issued to the pub stating that they are trading without an appropriate health and entertainment business licence as required by the Businesses Act of 1991 and that they should apply for the necessary licence. The CapeTowner contacted the pub for comment at the time but the previous manager, who only identified herself as Claire, said she would see if she could get a response from the owner, Alan Dunne. No response was received.

Ms Samie is now a witness in this court case but said she was having trouble getting law enforcement agencies to help on St Patrick’s Day. The licence Mr Dunne said the pub first opened its doors in December 2006 and at that time it was known as Catu Irish Pub. The name was changed as he felt it was too cryptic and said the public weren’t aware that it was an Irish Pub and said he was the single owner. He said the first time he received noise complaints was when Ms Samie moved into the area. He said he did not apply for a health and entertainment licence as he had a liquor licence which shows he can play loud and live music as long as it did not cause a nuisance or disturbance to the neighbours. “I have to state, however, that it is an alleged noise, we have never had a problem with noise,” he said. He said his licence made provision for loud noise. Mr Dunne said he was informed that he needed to apply for a health and entertainment licence but said it applied only to establishments that play live music. He said he had applied for a health and entertainment licence but never followed it up as in his opinion it referred to live music and said the pub didn’t really have live bands performing.

However, on St Patrick’s Day when Ms Samie and Mr Smith alleged the incident occurred, the pub had a live band playing. Mr Dunne said he was being harassed by Ms Samie who he said made several calls to police officers and then accused them of not doing their job. He said the pub was only issued with fines after she accused them of not doing their job. When asked if it was his view that the pub was being fined because it was causing a noise nuisance, Mr Dunne said: “Absolutely not, there are occasions like St Patrick’s Day which is celebrated all over the world. And there is noise but not the kind of noise that causes a disturbance. Police have to respond to a complaint. It got to the point on St Patrick’s Day when people were on the street, but were moved inside and the police were happy. “But Ms Samie was not pleased and called the police again and another van arrived.”

In November Dr Ivan Bromfield confirmed that the pub was trading without a health and entertainment license. He said the City received complaints from Ms Samie. The matter was investigated and a warning letter was issued to the pub informing the owner that it was trading without the necessary licence. He said all premises keeping or conducting a night club or discothèque are required, in terms of the Business Act, to apply for the necessary health and entertainment licence. When asked what requirements establishments needed to fulfil before the licence can be issued, Dr Bromfield said: “A noise impact assessment and a noise management plan must be submitted to the City. These reports, compiled by an accredited acoustic engineer, must be to the satisfaction of the City. Any soundproofing measures, required by such reports, must be implemented and certified by the engineer and must be finally installed to the satisfaction of the City”.

Mr Dunne said he did not have to apply for a health and entertainment licence as the pub did not have live bands playing. Dr Bromfield said that all premises where live music, bands and shows took place needed to be in possession of a business licence issued by a licensing authority such as the City. “A licence issued by the Liquor Board is not done in terms of this Act and does not exclude any business from complying with the conditions contemplated in terms of the Business Act,” Mr Bromfield said. He said the City had received two noise impact assessment reports from the pub, but both were rejected due to non-compliance. Dr Bromfield said since the last report, the case has been postponed three times and the next court date is scheduled for Thursday, May 19.

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

City officials needed to be given additional powers to deal effectively with the …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 17th March 2011

City centre residents have welcomed a proposed amendment to the Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisance By-law, which could see the sound equipment of noisy clubs impounded if they don’t listen to warnings to turn down the volume. A motion passed by the City’s safety and security portfolio committee, called for an amendment to the current by-law to allow city officials to impound sound equipment of noisy pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith said the reasons for the amendment was that up till now city officials could only issue fines. Mr Smith said residents who experienced sleepless nights due to noise emanating from city centre establishments were required to fill in affidavits and submit them to the City’s health department. However, he said due to long, drawn out court processes this was not ideal and that City officials needed to be given additional powers to deal effectively with the situation. Mr Smith said currently there are three establishments in the CBD which are problematic and said officials had received hundreds of complaints from residents.

According to the motion, many of the complaints have dragged on for more than a year and “leads to hundreds of repeated noise complaints and angry frustrated residents across the city who blame the City and the South African Police Service for not being able to bring repeated offenders to book”. Hilda Borman, supervisor of the St Martini Gardens residential block in Queen Victoria Street said she received many noise complaints from residents in the building. “Some of the owners have installed double glazing, others try to sleep with earplugs, but this has hardly any effect at all. I often report the noise to the police. Sometimes they do react to the complaint and the noise is quickly attended to, but not always. I would like to suggest that events rather be held on the Parade or at the stadium,” she said.

Siranne Ungerer, operations manager of the Urban Chic Boutique Hotel, said she would support the proposed amendment as she hoped it would improve the quality of sleep for residents and tourists, and that clubs, pubs and restaurants would “know that there are very real consequences for the businesses should they not obey the law”. “We are a boutique hotel, and while it doesn’t affect my daily living directly, it does adversely affect the sleep quality of the international and local tourists that have booked rooms in our establishment. “We have had situations where music was so loud that the beds our guests were sleeping on vibrated. We have had to supply ear-plugs our guests on many occasions, which only block out about 20% of the sound and are uncomfortable to sleep with,” she said. “For years we received no feedback and no consequences were laid out to the establishments. This year we are seeing an improvement, one establishment has received three fines since January and another has been summoned and has been instructed to install sound proofing.”

A Loop Street resident who asked not to be named said she had continuous problems. “When I moved into my city flat in 2003, noise from night clubs was not a problem. Now it is a problem on most nights of the week. It is often thought that party noise occurs just on Fridays and Saturdays, but that is not the case, as it can occur every single day of the week. And it is this constant noise nuisance that makes it such a problem. “Over the past few years I have found my self becoming more and more irritable. My temper flares quickly, and when there is noise I can hardly control my anger. During the day I find myself worrying about possible noise in the evening and instead of looking forward to quiet time at home, I dread it. I have difficulty sleeping and often wait till after 2am – when the clubs close–to go to bed. But it is not just sleep that is affected. It is also the normal living that is affected,” she said. She said reporting noisy clubs to the authorities didn’t seem to resolve the issue as “authorities don’t have any real authority”. She told the CapeTowner of phone calls she made to the police, the Central City Improvement District (CCID) and the City’s noise inspectors but it did not achieve any results.

Mr Smith said many aspects needed to be taken into consideration when looking at noise pollution. He said the responsibility is on residents and developers of residential blocks. “I would not support a resident who moved into Long Street and then complained about noise,” Mr Smith said. However, he said, in cases where a resident had been living in a particular area for several years and a new club opened and caused a nuisance, the City would need to intervene.

Christiane De Villiers has been living in an apartment in Long Street for 13 years. In November last year she spoke to the CapeTowner about her grievances about a bar which opened below her flat (“Long Street noise ‘too much’”, November 4). When asked whether she supported the proposed amendment Mrs De Villiers said: “I hope that it will make club owners more aware of the residents’ needs and rights and that they take this into consideration. It seems punitive action is the only reasoning that will be understood, fines are just built into the clubs’ budgets”.

Piers Allen who has been living in Long Street for more than 15 years said the quality of life had plummeted in recent years. “This is due to the noise and repercussions of having so many late-night drinking establishments in Long Street. People-traffic and vehicular-traffic has become enormous; party buses go by at 11pm, and later, passengers whooping and screaming, booster amplifiers making every window in my building reverberate to their awful clamour,” he said.

However, Vusa Mazula owner of Zula Sound Bar said he believed the city needed to consult all parties including clubs before the amendment could be added. He said he understood the grievances of residents but said he thought all parties should come together to discuss the logistics of the area. He said he agreed that developers who intend building residential blocks or hotels in the area should ensure that the windows of their buildings are double-glazed. Mr Mazula said he would be sure to comment when the amendment came up for public participation.

Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) said while he supported the proposed amendment, his concern with noise pollution in the CBD was the state of the City Health Department which seems to be understaffed and out-of-sync with the rate of development in the city. He said businesses were obliged to soundproof their premises before an Entertainment License can be issued. “When a concern is reported, the health department’s assembling of a team to take a noise reading on a specific night seems ill conceived. This testing methodology relies on chance, and as has been experienced, the bars/clubs know in advance about the testing, and just change their behaviour on the designated evening. “The use of a data logger which records audio levels over a longer period (months) seems more appropriate,” he said.

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

Understanding how residents can deal with noise pollution

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 10th December 2010

Monique Duval conducted an email interview with executive director for the City’s health department, Dr Ivan Bromfield, about noise pollution.

Q. What is considered a noise nuisance?

A. Noise nuisance means any sound which disturbs or impairs or may disturb or impair the convenience or peace of any person as defined in the Noise Control Regulations.

Q. What are the legal requirements for establishments which wish to play loud music, for instance a club?

A. Any pub, club or restaurant intending to provide entertainment, must apply for a Place of Entertainment Licence. One of the requirements of City Health for issuing a Place of Entertainment Licence, is that the premises must be adequately soundproofed.

Q. Who is responsible for ensuring that these requirements are met?

A. The City’s Health Department ensures requirements are met before an Entertainment Licence can be issued.

Q. Do bars which don’t have DJs or live bands playing have to soundproof their premises?

A. If no entertainment licence is required, then no soundproofing can be called for by the City unless changes are made to existing facilities.

Q. What is a noise exemption permit and what does it allow?

A. The Noise Control Regulations allow for noisy events to take place by means of first applying for an exemption from the Noise Control Regulations for the duration of the event. Applications for such exemptions are considered by City Health and the granting of such noise exemptions is based upon careful consideration and is granted for limited periods only. A noise exemption temporarily lifts the restrictions on noise so that such events can take place legally.

Q. What criteria needs to be met before a noise exemption permit can be issued?

A. The tolerance for noise from events varies from community to community. The day of the week, cut-off time as well as the nature, footprint and profile of the event would affect what would be considered acceptable. Generally the City is guided by the results of the written comments it receives during the public participation process that the event organiser is required to embark upon, before any application for a noise exemption would be considered. In order to make it possible to host outdoor events, the Noise Control Regulations allow for the issue of a noise exemption so that the limitations on noise levels are temporarily lifted. During this permitted period, noise levels are not normally measured.

Q. What is the maximum time limit for a noise exemption permit?

A. The maximum time limit (cut-off time) applied for, is considered and finally approved by City Health. There is no standing cut-off time applicable to events, however, City Health may impose a cut-off time depending on what is considered reasonable for a particular neighbourhood or event.

Q. Who is responsible for responding to a noise complaint?

A. Depending on the type of noise concerned and where it occurs, City Health, City Law Enforcement as well as South African Police Services (SAPS) may be responsible.

Q. What are officers expected to do?

A. City Health will assess the noise in terms of the Noise Control Regulations for transgression of the noise limitations, and take action, e.g.. a notice, a fine or a summons to court. Law Enforcement or SAPS officers are also able to act against offenders.

Q. In what instance would a fine be issued?

A. Violations of the Noise Control Regulations may result in a fine as determined by a Magistrate. In the event of someone exceeding the ambient noise levels by more than seven decibels (A scale), a “disturbance” would have been caused and the City could take appropriate action. A lesser noise can be acted upon as a noise nuisance whereby affidavits would be required. Violations in terms of the Public Nuisances By-law can invoke fines by the City’s Law Enforcement.

Q. What is the maximum fine that can be issued?

A. Should any person be found guilty of perpetrating a noise nuisance in court a maximum fine of R20 000 or two years imprisonment may be imposed by the magistrate.

Q. Who should residents and businesses call to lay a complaint?

A. Should any residents perceive noise emanating from places of entertainment or any other source, as a noise nuisance or a disturbance, they may submit affidavits that describe the noise nuisance to the nearest environmental health office or to the City’s Health Department’s specialised services and be prepared to provide evidence in court. They can call specialised services on 021 400 3781. Complaints can also be lodged at the Metro Police all hours call centre by calling 021 596 1999. Once such affidavits are received, the local environmental health practitioner will be able to facilitate legal action with assistance from the City’s prosecutor.

Q. Can the City shut down a business if complaints are received, or what are the processes that need to be followed before a place can be shut down based on noise complaints or non-compliance?

A. The City cannot simply close down a business without having gone through the correct legal processes, which include serving notices. The court will decide on whether the business should be closed down or what measures should be taken.

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