Controversy over a guest house in Boston has turned into a nasty spat, with claims of racism on the one side and alleged illegal activity on the other.
The guest house, called 2 Friends Guesthouse, is based in Duminy Street and has been operational for around two years.
Rooms go for around R540 per night and it is advertised online as being in “a quiet environment where your rest can’t be disturbed”.
While living in these self-catering rooms, guests can enjoy DStv, Wi-Fi, CCTv, laundry, self catering, braai facilities and a swimming pool.
From the moment it opened its doors for customers, however, residents nearby were up in arms.
For one, they feel there is more noise, more cars in the area, and parties until late in the evening. Fights have also allegedly broken out, increasing sound to unbearable levels.
“This is not a resort area, this is a residential area,” one resident says. He chose his home before the guest house was operational because he expected it to be quiet.
“On a daily basis (there are) cars hooting (and) during the night people partying,” he says.
John Kakooza, manager of the guest house, strongly objects to complaints.
He says they only get complaints when “black people are here”.
When others are there, “they just ignore it”.
He says there are posters everywhere warning guests to keep noise levels down.
“Otherwise we will chase you out.”
Kakooza says as far as he is concerned the guest house is operating legally.
“We are paying taxes. We are doing nothing wrong.”
The owner of the guest house says he is “fed-up of white people that moan and moan”.
He says there is no extra traffic or cars and has an issue with neighbours who didn’t go through the trouble of meeting the manager.
When TygerBurger pointed out the complaints came from people in different race groups, he was incredulous.
Soon after the guest house started operations, residents reported it to the City of Cape Town, saying they were never informed of the potential business on their doorsteps.
The City took over a year to investigate and has since said they deem operations as unlawful.
“In our view the guest house is operating illegally and the City has instituted legal action. As soon as a date is set for court we will advise all interested parties accordingly. Until the matter is concluded, the City will not provide any further comment,” Eddie Andrews, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment says.
“Complaints of noise and unruly behaviour should be reported to the South African Police Service.“
The court date has since been set for 3 February.
Roger Cannon, ward councillor for Boston, says to always take building matters up with the City as soon as issues come to light.
He does warn, however, that many building restrictions have changed over the years and it’s not necessarily the case that owners need get their neighbours’ permissions to extend their homes.
If permission has been granted for a business to operate and residents are unhappy about this, it’s still possible to lodge an appeal, he adds.