Tag Archives: Vusa Mazula

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.

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.

There are also people urinating in the street and on the pavement around …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 14th January 2011

A group of businesses that includes pubs, clubs and restaurants in the city centre will be applying for an interdict to prevent the City of Cape Town from implementing the controversial Liquor Trading Hours By-law. The group has met with its lawyers and will be questioning the constitutionality of the by-law. The group known as the Club, Bar and Restaurant Association (CBRA) held a meeting at the Chrome nightclub last week to discuss the issues. Shaan Nordien, owner of Chrome nightclub, said although the association had made submissions and presentations during the comment period, it had not received a response from the City. Mr Nordien met with the association’s legal team on Monday January 10 to discuss the case. “Our lawyers believe we have a strong case and we will be handing a letter to the City soon highlighting the association’s intentions,” Mr Nordien said. He said the main concern of the association was the stipulated cutoff time, which will force all establishments to stop selling alcohol at 2am. He said this will lead to a reduction of trading hours for all establishments. “We are not against the regulation of liquor sales, but this by-law will kill the industry and lead to loss of jobs. We are all licensed establishments and have been operating for years. This is going to cost us millions of rand but we have the funds and we are going to fight this,” Mr Nordien said. He said the interdict would only protect the association’s members. “It is a blanket interdict and will protect all members and establishments who are part of the association, others will not be included,” he said. He said the association’s legal team had found several loop-holes in the by-law and would be proceeding with the application. He said the association would also be suing the City for loss of income following the announcement that the by-law would be enforced on New Year’s Eve.

In a statement released by the City on Tuesday December 28, Councillor Taki Amira, chairperson of the Liquor Policy task team, said that at midnight on New Year’s Eve the bylaw would come into effect. “This means that bars and clubs in business areas will have to close by 2am on Saturday January 1. Those watering holes in or close to residential areas, which may currently enjoy late trading hours, will have to abide by the new legislation and close by 11pm,” he said. However, on Thursday December 30 the City said the by-law would not be implemented immediately but would be “phased in”. “The City would like to allay fears of club and restaurant owners with regards to the enforcement of the City’s new Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-Law. “The by-law will be phased in over the next few months and will not be stringently enforced until all role players have been extensively educated and informed about the new legislation.”

City Safety and Security executive director Richard Bosman said during the initial implementation of the by-law the City’s law enforcement agencies will register complaints from the public and keep a record for future reference. “The City will also register and review the complaints of those affected by the by-law to see how these can best be addressed. “With the implementation of the new smoking regulations the approach taken by law enforcement was first education, support and warning during the initial phase. “This is the approach we will follow with this legislation as well,” Mr Bosman said. However, club owners claim the “damage had already been done” as the initial statement was widely published and deterred party goers from coming into the city.

Vusa Mazula, owner of Zula Sound Bar, said he was annoyed that the first statement was made. “It feels like the whole thing was engineered. How can the City make such a huge statement and then turn around and change its tune? “This by-law will not only have a negative impact on businesses in the city centre but will negatively impact on tourism. “Most party goers only come into the city at 11pm. The busiest time for most clubs is between 1am and 4am. By reducing the hours for the sale of liquor most establishments will effectively only have one hour of trading,” Mr Mazula said. He said the by-law would see businesses run at a loss and in his view clubs will have to implement staff cuts. Mr Amira confirmed that the association had made submissions to about the by-law, but said he was not informed of the letter. He said the by-law was modelled on the Liquor Bill and based on research conducted in other cities around the world.

And while clubs, pubs and restaurants are in a froth over the new by-law, residents have welcomed it. Siranne Ungerer said she hoped the implementation of the by-law would lead to less drunken behaviour and noise in Long Street “We experience noise from the drunken patrons leaving the clubs and pubs and we also have a lot of fights. There are also people urinating in the street and on the pavement around us. “We’ve had our windows broken four times in the last two years due to people fighting and then falling against them,” Ms Ungerer said. One resident, who asked not to be named as she was currently involved in a dispute with a club in Long Street, said she supported the by-law as she hoped it would help to reduce the nuisance caused by noisy party goers.

Piers Allen, who has been living in Long Street since 1997, said he “whole-heartedly” supported the by-law and hoped it would improve the quality of life for residents.“It is with increasing dismay that we have experienced the night-environment being taken over by raucous clubs and bars that have no regard whatsoever for residents or passersby. “We have been fighting a losing battle, together with others including hotels and hostelries, trying to gain the support and assistance of the City to control excessive public noise and nuisance, which arises from so many drinking venues and the excessive consumption of alcohol. “This community-minded effort has seemingly had little appreciable effect on officers of the council: on the contrary – things have worsened considerably over the last 14 years,” Mr Allen said.

In his blog, Constitutionally Speaking, constitutional law expert, Pierre de Vos labels the by-law as “reactionary, misguided and counter productive”. “It is reactionary because it is based on a Christian Nationalist attitude which assumes that we should all go to bed at 2am, that having access to alcohol in a public place after 2am would somehow turn us all into evil sinners and that God will punish us if we were allowed to buy liquor on a Sunday,” he said. The by-law was misguided, in that, “it assumes that if one prohibits the sale of liquor after 2am this will somehow address the scourge of alcoholism and drugs in our community. This is, of course, a completely irrational and mistaken assumption. “Anyone who had visited the United Kingdom at the time when all bars were forced to close at 11pm would know that earlier closing times for bars and pubs do not necessarily prevent people from getting very drunk and making fools of themselves. “There is no evidence to back up the assumptions underlying this by-law,” he said. CBRA members met at Chrome nightclub yesterday, Wednesday January 12, to further discuss the issue, but at the time of going to print the outcome of this meeting was not known.

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