Tag Archives: The Loop Nightclub

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.

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.

There’s a legal process that needs to be followed. At the moment …

From the Cape Times, by Caryn Dolley, 2nd March 2012

LEGAL proceedings are being instituted against a city night-club operating illegally. The Loop, on the corner of Loop and Pepper streets in the city centre – believed to be owned by Sea Point businessman Mark Lifman – opened in December last year and has been operating without the necessary licences ever since. Other business owners have also complained about the club, but said they would no longer be drawn into the fray as they had been intimidated as a result.

Lifman is presently involved in another court case regarding an unregistered security company which he funded. Yesterday, Lifman’s attorney, William Booth, said his client owned many properties and businesses, but could not say whether Lifman also owned The Loop. Local community newspaper The CapeTowner reported that it was invited to attend the media launch of The Loop last year. A public relations company said at the time that the club was owned by Lifman, along with Gareth Botha and WaiSzee Sing.

Richard Bosman, the city’s executive director of safety and security, confirmed that The Loop was operating illegally “It is true that the club has been operating without an entertainment licence. To date, two fines for operating without an entertainment licence have been issued to the manager of the club.” Bosman said members of the city’s health department initially inspected the club’s premises. The first fine was issued in December. “There’s a legal process that needs to be followed. At the moment, the law enforcement officers do not have the necessary authority to close the club,” he said. Bosnian said after legal proceedings had been finalised the officers would be able to close the club. “They are in consultation with the legal services and the process has begun,” he said.

Bosman said documentation had been submitted to the city’s legal department to summon the club’s owner for trading illegally. He said the club did, however, have a temporary liquor license. Several people employed at various businesses have recently raised their concerns with the Cape Times about operations at The Loop. All declined to be named for fear of their safety. Among concerns was the noise level generated by the club at night. Some said they had since been intimidated by the club’s bouncers and as a result had withdrawn from trying to get the club closed down. Bosnian urged anyone who felt threatened to contact the police. Tasso Evangelinos, chief operations officer of the Central City Improvement District (CCID), said they were aware of the concerns regarding The Loop and had forwarded these to the city.

Copyright belongs to the Cape Times.

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.