Cape Town to clamp down on noisy neighbours and other complaints

The City of Cape Town has called for public comment on proposed amendments to the streets, public places and noise nuisance by-law.

The by-law has been in existence since 2007 and aligns with the by-laws of South Africa’s major metropoles and most municipalities.

It includes the following prohibitions in public places:

  • Blocking the safe passage of residents or motor vehicles;
  • Making physical contact without consent;
  • Use of abusive language or threatening actions;
  • Approaching or following a person in a way that causes fear of imminent harm, or intimidates;
  • Continuing to follow or beg from a person after a negative response;
  • Urinating or defecating except in a toilet;
  • Spitting;
  • Bathing except in instances where this is permitted;
  • Performing a sexual act or exposing oneself;
  • Consuming liquor or drugs, or being drunk or under the influence thereof;
  • Solicitation for prostitution;
  • Gambling;
  • Starting or keeping a fire;
  • Sleeping or camping overnight or erecting any shelter, except where designated or with permission.

Powers to Enforce the by-law

The amendments to the by-law now explicitly set out the powers of the city’s authorised officials to enforce the regulations, and provide for measures to prevent the abuse of those powers.

“It is important to note that the powers to summons, issue admission of guilt fines, arrest, and search, are those conferred on law enforcement officers under the Criminal Procedure Act,” the city said.

It said that the by-law now limits and explicitly states those powers of enforcement to:

  • Direct a person to stop prohibited conduct, remove an obstacle, and to leave and remain out of a specified place;
  • Issue compliance notices as well as notices to appear in court or pay a fine;
  • Arrest a person who commits an offence in terms of the by-law and to search a person if necessary;
  • Impound goods and materials as per the City’s Standard Operating Procedure on the Impoundment of Goods and Animals;
  • Require identification.

“The by-law amendments are expected to streamline procedures underpinning the effective resolution of complaints, and to mitigate risks to the city, individuals and landowners by ensuring necessary and ongoing enforcement actions are supported by legislation,” the city said.

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Cape Town to clamp down on noisy neighbours and other complaints