Residents consider approaching court over Durban July after party noisemakers

2018-07-24 19:51

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The Durban July has come and gone but a group of Durban residents are still seething after a loud "after party" on a Sunday evening that they say only ended at around 04:00 the next day kept them awake, and left them sleep-deprived on Monday, a working day.

They are so incensed that they are considering an application against the eThekwini municipality in terms of access to information legislation in an attempt to get to the bottom of whose party it was, who was there and why the South African Police Service and metro police did not shut it down in spite of receiving numerous complaints over a prolonged period.

They have reported the issue to metro police commissioner Steve Middleton who told News24 that his office was investigating the matter.

A complaint has also been lodged with the office of the mayor. Her spokesperson, Mthunzi Gumede, referred queries to the general media office which, in turn, referred them to the metro police.

The party was held at Munies Hockey Club, just next to the botanic gardens and, according to information gleaned by the residents, was also attended by "political people" who arrived in black BMWs and other luxury vehicles, some with flashing blue lights.

At various times from midnight, the manager of the club tried to shut the party down.

Judging from the complaints received about the excessive noise, it affected thousands of residents in a 2.5km radius, from Glenwood to Morningside.

Professionals such as surgeons, veterinary surgeons, advocates, attorneys, and architects were among those who complained and said they had to tackle their Monday work schedules exhausted.

'No ordinary noise'

In a letter to Middleton, Greg Harpur, the chairperson of the Cato Road South Community Association, a local residents' association in Glenwood, said the severe noise began at about 23:00 on the evening of Sunday, July 8, and only ended just before 04:00 on Monday morning.

He said he phoned the police twice during the evening. The first officer he spoke to denied any knowledge of the noise but the second one "clearly knew of the severity of the problem and was beyond denying its existence".

"I was told there had been numerous complaints and that the police were going there and it would stop shortly. This was at 03:19. It eventually stopped at 03:45.

"Another resident of our association advised that he telephoned 10111 at about 01:30. He was told that he should not be selfish and there was some sort of function going on.

"This was no ordinary noise. It comprised some person who appeared to be shouting on considerably amplified sound equipment, interspersed with amplified drumming and music.

"Notwithstanding that venue was 2.5km away from my house, the noise was so loud that even earplugs didn't help."

Call for 'full investigation'

The next day a member of the association contacted the manager of the club, David Carols, who, in an email, apologised and said: "this is not something we generally host, we learned the hard way and promise never to allow or host such a function again".

Carols did not respond to an email for comment.

Harpur said this was not an isolated occurrence and partly what had motivated the association's lengthy complaint was there had been other reported similar issues with noisy parties in the city. He noted that noise pollution of this type is against the common law, as well as the municipality's own by-laws.

"We want a full investigation and those responsible to be prosecuted," he said.

A member of the association, a surgeon, said he had moved from the Musgrave area because of the noise pollution from Moses Mabhida Stadium.

"That night I hardly slept, I am a surgeon and had to operate on minimal sleep on that Monday morning," he said.

This past weekend, residents were kept awake by another night long event at People's Park, next to the stadium, which ended just after 07:00 on Sunday morning.

Again City officials did not comment, referring questions from one department to another.

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