Residents’ complaints about church noise fuel heated debate at Executive Committee meeting

2014-06-20 00:00

WHAT should be regarded as the acceptable ­level of noise from places of worship?

This was the subject of a heated debate at the Executive Committee (Exco) meeting yesterday, after DA ward councillor Naleni Atwaru ­submitted a complaint from a resident ­complaining about the noise “nuisance” from the Threshing Floor Bible Church.

The church meets at the YMCA in Scottsville and holds long services on Sundays with loud singing and music.

Atwaru said the complaint added that the services start in the morning and continue well into the afternoon, which residents were ­unhappy about.

Mayor Chris Ndlela stood down the report because he wanted Atwaru to quantify the number of complainants and also to go back to speak to the church leaders to hear their side of the story.

Ndlela asked if she had driven past the area to ascertain if indeed there was noise, to which she replied, “Yes, there seemed to be noise”.

ANC Exco member Thulani Xulu asked if ­Atwaru had held a meeting with community members to find out their views.

“Have you also received complaints from the residents when there is a rugby match at the Woodburn Stadium?” asked Xulu, saying he did not want to turn this into a racial matter but after a game, spectators consumed alcohol.

Another ANC Exco member, Manilal Inderjit, said Atwaru should go back to her ward and do her job properly before bringing the report to Exco. “I think you sided with the complainant because in the report there is nothing that suggests that you spoke to the church leaders or even had a ward committee meeting,” he said.

Inderjit said Atwaru should have got an affidavit from the complainants if this was to be legally binding.

Atwaru said she was not given enough time to go through the report. She insisted that she had tried to speak to church leaders but every time she went there people ignored her.

Atwaru said about 25 people complained about the noise.

“We can’t have churches popping up everywhere, so I think we need to investigate how these premises were awarded to the church ­because people do like to have their quality time on Sundays,” said Atwaru.

She argued that when there was going to be a rugby match, she checked on when it is was going to be played and how long it would run so she could inform residents.

She said she could get a signed petition from residents who complained about the noise.

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