R40,000 fine for public urination, littering and begging in Durban

Ethekwini Municipality aims to put a stop to urinating in public through a new by-law that is set to come into effect later this year, and also comes with a fine of up to R40,000 for offenders.

The municipality said that residents will have to be on their best behaviour when enforcement of the recently gazetted “Nuisances and Behaviour in Public Places” by-law is implemented.

It said that the by-law aims to provide measures to regulate and control conduct or behaviour which causes, or is likely to cause discomfort, annoyance or inconvenience the public and to prevent it from occurring.

“Metro Police which includes enforcement officials are being trained to effectively enforce it,” eThekwini Municipality said.

The Commonwealth Games of 2022 will be coming to the City of Durban, following a unanimous vote by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in Auckland, New Zealand earlier this month.

The coastal city will become the first African city to host the prestigious event.

Under the by-law prohibited conduct includes:

  • Nuisance behaviour in public places;
  • Vegetation;
  • Hanging of items on fences, walls, balconies and verandas,
  • Noise;
  • Litter;
  • Conduct regarding vehicles such as washing and repairing vehicles in public spaces;
  • Obstructing, blocking or disturbing traffic and pedestrians;
  • Excavation in public places;
  • Weed-killers, herbicides, poisons and pesticides;
  • Vandalism of municipal property and
  • Nuisance arising from the use of premises.

“Any person convicted of an offence under this by-law is liable to a fine not exceeding R40,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both the fine and imprisonment.

“In the case of continued offence, an additional fine of an amount not exceeding R200 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 days, for each day on which the offence continues, will be imposed,” eThekwini Municipality said.

The amount of the fine will be determined on the offence committed, it added.

“Abusive, threatening or foul language or gestures will not be tolerated in public spaces. Neither will fighting, urinating or defecating in public.”

“The public will not be allowed to bath or wash in public unless it is part of a religious or cultural ceremony and permission has been sought. Any member of the public caught spitting, performing any sexual act, appearing in the nude or exposing genitalia will also face prosecution.”

The municipailty said it will also get tough on public drinking. “Consumption of liquor, being drunk in public, gambling and the use of drugs is forbidden. The public may also not lie down or sleep on any bench, street or sidewalk in a manner that prevents other people from using it. Begging for money or goods with gestures and words is also banned.”

Shouting, screaming or making any other loud, persistent noise including amplified noise is also prohibited.

Spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa told Talk 702 that the fine is set at a maximum of R40,000 – The by-laws stay in place for a period of not less than 30 years – the amount of R40,000 takes inflation into account and “to take us through the full life of the by-laws being in place. It allows us to carry through the bylaws for 30 years or so.”

A draft proposal has been sent to the chief magistrate to define what the fines should be, Mthethwa said.

“We are allowed an instrument such as a by-law to help us run the city properly – we are allowed to propose fines. The intention at the end of the day is not to send someone to jail – its to be able to stop unwanted behaviour.”

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R40,000 fine for public urination, littering and begging in Durban