Cape Town to make changes to its ‘nuisance’ by-laws – allowing search and seizures, and impounding without a warrant

The City of Cape Town has published new amendments to its streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisances by-law for public comment.

The by-law relates to the management of public places, noise nuisances and other incidental matters on all properties within Cape Town, the city said.

Some of the offences currently covered by the by-law include:

  • Intentionally blocking traffic;
  • Begging;
  • Using abusive or threatening language in public;
  • Relieving themselves, spitting, or performing sexual acts in public;
  • Being drunk or under the influence of drugs;
  • Causing a disturbance by shouting, screaming or making any other loud or persistent noise or sound;
  • Permitting noise from a private residence or business to be audible in a public place;
  • Door-to-door collections;
  • Trees on a property causing an interference or obstruction.

The city said that all of its proposed changes in the new amendment relate specifically to section 22 of the by-law, which guides the city’s actions on transgressions and the recovery of costs.

“The amendments are proposed to ensure more effective resolution of complaints from the public,” the city said in an explanatory statement.

“It also takes into account the amended powers that have been afforded to law enforcement officers, and expands ways in which the city can recover costs where need be.”

The most notable changes which the city wants to introduce include:

  • Instruction to leave the area – An authorised official may instruct a person who is in contravention of the by-law to leave and remain out of an area where a contravention taken place;
  • Inspections – An authorised official may enter or inspect any premises or business where there are reasonable grounds for believing that a provision of this by-law has been contravened, or where there has been an allegation that a provision of this by-law has been contravened;
  • Search and seizure – Without a warrant, an officer may stop, enter and search any vessel, vehicle, premises or person for a prima facie (at face value) offence in terms of this by-law occurring;
  • Impounding – An officer may, without a warrant, seize and impound any property, including but not limited to, an item, goods, equipment, vessel or a vehicle which is concerned or is on reasonable grounds believed to be concerned with the commission of an offence in terms of this by-law. The city may sell, donate or dispose of the impounded item if it is forfeited by the court a person does not claim the item.

Interested parties have until 17 May 2020 to comment. You can read the full proposed amendment below:

Cape Town by-laws by BusinessTech on Scribd

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Cape Town to make changes to its ‘nuisance’ by-laws – allowing search and seizures, and impounding without a warrant