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Petition, court action vs muni


A looming court interdict or class action and a petition bulging with more than 1 000 signatures are testimony to growing dismay among residents of Penina Park and surrounds over Polokwane Municipality’s evidently blatant disregard for an explosive problem, stemming from incessant noise pollution that has been pestering them the past seven or so years.
For almost a decade now residents of Penina Park and surrounds have grown increasingly despondent as their complaints about noise levels – derived from the continuous hosting of festival and parties at Peter Mokaba Stadiums, Polokwane Cricket Club and Waterland until the wee hours of the next morning – were seemingly being ignored. Having been subjected to the ongoing state of affairs, residents are becoming increasingly vocal about the magnitude of a problem that is seemingly reaching boiling point.
It was reliably learnt that consultations were underway regarding a possible warning to Polokwane Municipality to have the new noise control by-law, which came into being when the previous by-law was rescinded towards the end of last year, enforced. In the event of it being ignored it could result in a court interdict or class action being considered, Polokwane Observer was informed. It was simultaneously established that whereas the old by-law made provision for noise disturbance at such facilities until 22:00, the latest version pushed noise boundaries to midnight.
An irate resident of Penina Park, Annatjie Harmse informed Polokwane Observer that she had mobilised more than 1 000 residents to sign the petition about the noise complaint the past three weeks alone. Residents welcomed the initiative as they didn’t know who to turn to after all requests for assistance have fallen on deaf ears in the past and were equally adamant about securing an interdict against Polokwane Municipality, she stressed. She revisited their worst nightmare arising from music emanating from sound systems at the venues that caused window panes of houses in adjacent Penina Park to rattle. Events at the venues sometimes started in the mornings or otherwise late afternoon and could easily continue until 07:00 the following day, she pointed out. According to Harmse complaints to the Police in the past solicited rhetoric about the lack of resources to act against a million intoxicated people in return. Neither did she find joy phoning African National Congress (ANC) Ward Councillor Thilivhali Mashau towards the end of December last year, she said.
The Caucus Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Polokwane Council, Frank Haas, said he had warned Polokwane Municipality against a possible interdict stemming from the prevailing situation during a meeting in December last year and continued saying he would advise affected residents to apply for a court interdict.
He raised the point that the Police didn’t enforce city by-laws and both them and the municipality were ignoring the concerns of rate payers. According to him the Police used the excuse that it was too dangerous for people to walk home after a party at those venues at midnight, hence they allowed the racket to continue until the next morning.
He recalled two petitions on the same issue respectively handed to the previous council that were ignored in the past. Haas said one of the petitions was presented by the residents from the same area while he handled the other on their behalf. He remarked that he had often approached the organisers of events with the request to turn the volume down when alerted of complaints in the past, but repeatedly the music would be blaring again shortly after his departure. By simply turning down the bass on a sound system the problem would instantly be solved, Haas indicated.
When approached for comment Mashau said after having received the first of two calls from a resident about noise-related problems in the beginning of January this year he had requested the relevant municipal officials tasked with booking events at the particular facilities to inform him forthwith of any upcoming programmes at the respective venues.
Comment from the Assistant Manager of Communications at Polokwane Municipality, Matshidiso Mothapo is quoted verbatim: “The municipality is reviewing the matters related to hosting entertainment events in the cricket club, making sure that the responsibility of keeping social cohesion, growing the economy and entertain the community accommodates all or does not impact negatively on the rights of other community members. Assessment is being made on the number of events to be hosted outside the hours agreed upon in Council and a better public participation process engaged upon. The municipality would not want to deny activities to take place but will still do that within parameters of comfort for the rest of the community.
“We have acquired a noise meter so that all events that are hosted are within the required decibels. To curb the noise pollution we have encouraged that most events be held at the rugby fields facing the south which helps a lot in reducing the impact of noise on the north and western parts of the city. There generally were less than two events hosted at the cricket club going beyond the agreed time in 2016/17.
“We are also in a process to update lease agreements so that they are in line with the by-law. The leasing of Waterland is to a private individual and all required laws for managing such will be monitored that they are adhered to.
“The municipality has been working with event organisers to ensure that the negative impact is minimised.”