Author: Staff Writer
28 April 2022
The City of Cape Town has announced that the ‘noise nuisances’ section of its Streets, Public Places, and Prevention of Noise Nuisances By-Law will not apply to places of worship operating within appropriate zoning.
The City has updated its standard operating procedure (SOP) on noise-related complaints to confirm handling matters related to places of worship with sensitivity and dignity under provincial regulations and not as a ‘noise nuisance’ under the by-law.
“The provincial noise control regulations – read with National Standards – set overall limits for all forms of sound in communities, related to technical measurements. The Constitution enables all citizens to enjoy freedoms, including religious freedom, in ways that do not unreasonably inhibit the freedoms and rights of others.
“The city’s updated SOP on noise complaints stipulates that designated officials must ensure sensitivity and care in consulting a place of worship on any regulatory noise abatement measures as may be necessary, so as not to inhibit religious freedom.”
The SOP further states that, wherever possible, if the city can assist a complainant and subject in resolving the issues amicably through conversation or neighbourly mediation, it will do so.
“The SOP formalises the operational procedure that has been in place since 2019. With these latest standard operating procedure updates, we are providing the necessary reassurance to places of worship while ensuring clarity on fair procedures for the handling of noise-related complaints in communities.
“We further extend an open invitation to religious leaders to assist the City with monitoring the implementation of the SOP,” said the city’s JP Smith, mayoral committee member for Safety and Security.
Cape Town moved to update its nuisance by-laws in 2021 to explicitly set out the powers of the city’s authorised officials to enforce regulations and provide for measures to prevent the abuse of those powers.
This includes the powers to issue a summons, admission of guilt fines, arrest, and search under the Criminal Procedure Act.
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