Church in hot water

2018-03-27 06:01

A Maitland church could face the law if they continue failing to comply with the municipal bylaws.

Numerous complaints have been lodged against Men of God following reports by the residents of Maitland and Kensington about the traffic congestion and noise caused by the church on Friday evenings and during the day on Sundays. Churchgoers reportedly park on the sidewalk at Kensington Bridge, sometimes double parking and extending to the kerbside. According to reports, the church is leasing the Nor Paper factory building at the foot of Kensington Bridge in Voortrekker Road. It has been operating for more than two years now.

Wayne Dyason, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement, says the City will serve a compliance notice on the accused to inform them about the complaints and afford them a chance to rectify the situation.

“They can be charged in terms of the bylaw relating to streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisances if they are not in compliance. The complaint is noise nuisance which is interfering with the comfort and convenience of the complainant in a residential area. It is important for all community members to think about how their actions affect those living around them and to try and have tolerance and respect for one another.”

Dyason advised residents to contact the City’s public emergency contact centre by dialling 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone for issues related to noise nuisance and to report to the police any cases related to intimidation­.

Ward councillor Helen Jacob says that because there have been previous complaints about the church and problems keep arising, Council has decided to engage with all relevant stakeholders to find a solution.

She says at a meeting held on Monday 19 March it was agreed that the owners of the building would be included in the decision making. She also called on everyone affected, including businesses, to come forward and be part of the upcoming meeting. “We decided to escalate the matter to the owners of the building. We would like to find long-term solutions to the issues.”

She says with previous complaints the church had always been compliant. Residents say they were tolerant of the church until all the cars started parking on the main road, blocking their way.

Resident Mark Viljoen: “Since the church arrived here it has been a problem for the community. We are not against them worshipping. We also have churches with infrastructure to accommodate our congregants, so why can’t they do the same instead of getting in the way of everyone? Kensington and Maitland are in an enclosed area. We depend on Voortrekker Road to access exits to our destinations but we suffer every time they have services.”

He says the officials have failed to order the church to comply with the municipal bylaws. “We have reported this and everyone in these communities knows about the problem but they turn a blind eye to it.”

Another resident, Zea Aimes, says the church has praise and worship until the early hours of the morning, using bands and amplifying equipment. She says residents from as far as eight streets away in Kensington are left disgruntled by this. “This is above and beyond the normal church hours on Sundays, and those stretch deep into the afternoon. It is high time for some measure of restraint. It is time for the City of Cape Town to intervene, and with a clear and precise plan of action. Maitland and Kensington residents have reached the end of their rope.”

Despite numerous attempts to contact the pastor at Men of God, People’s Post could not reach him for comment at the time of print.

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