City residents angered by noisy Cape clubs

With the advent of residential living in central Cape Town and nightclubs reportedly not complying with by-laws on noise and disorderly behaviour, inner city residents and revellers are headed for conflict.

That is the opinion of veteran central city property developer Theodore Yach, who says he receives daily complaints from his clients about noise.

"The volume of complaints seems to indicate that the problems aren't going away."

According to the Cape Town Central City Improvement District's chief operations officer, Derek Bock, there will be 2 500 new apartments in the central city by mid-2006.

"You can't have clubs blasting out music until 5am or 6am if you want people to come and live in town."

The City of Cape Town had an obligation to accommodate residents and entertainment establishments.

Bock recommended that it follow the British model, where pubs in residential areas closed at a certain time.

"When we did not have a residential aspect to (the central city) and it shut down at 5am, this wasn't an issue. Clubs could go about their merry thing," Yach said.

Andre Traut, of the Cape Town central police station, said people did complain about noise, but they complained among themselves.

"If we receive a complaint of a disturbance of the peace, we follow it up and prosecute if necessary," he said.

Two officers and two non-commissioned officers patrolled the central city at night, enforcing the Liquor Act.

Depending on their licences, clubs were required to stop alcohol sales at 2am or 4am.

"The central business district's becoming a residential area and having a good mix of vibrant nightlife is the challenge we will have to face," said Ivan Toms, the city's director of health, whose department is responsible for environmental health.

There was no legislation for trading hours, but for a new establishment to obtain a business licence it had to submit a noise impact assessment, he said.

Through the assessment, a sound engineer had to demonstrate how noise would be contained by the proposed structure.

"It is an issue that we take seriously and we are trying to be proactive," Toms said.

For establishments, complaints were pursued on a "noise nuisance" basis.

In two instances in other suburbs, clubs had been fined R5 000 and R20 000 and had to implement "noise abatement techniques", Toms said.

Complaints about noise were not infrequent and were on the increase.

"There is a much greater awareness of noise pollution in South Africa and people are beginning to be concerned about it and report it," Toms said.

  • This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Times on May 18, 2005
Article by: By Dominique Herman -