Municipality to Step-Up Enforcement Against Noise
…through collaborations with police, the Municipality is working on a mechanism that will ensure repeat offenders are fined
The Municipal Council of Manzini was over the past weekend inundated with noise-related reports from residents; with some emanating from private residences, others from liquor establishments whilst others were from gatherings. The Municipality is concerned about continued disturbance of public peace in the City of Manzini; moreso because people continue making noise despite being cautioned against it through the Municipality’s night response team. Regulation 37of the Urban Government Regulations, 1969, states clearly that “no person shall, in any street or place of public resort or in any place within sight or hearing of the persons therein, disturb the peace by making or causing excessive noise, either himself or with any instrument or machine, or by shouting, quarrelling or otherwise creating a disturbance, or by gathering a crowd…”. Regulation 42 of the same set of Regulations specifically speaks to issues of noise on private premises. “No person, being in or on private premises, shall disturb the public peace in the neighborhood of such premises by making thereon or therein unseemly noise, by shouting , quarrelling or singing, or the continuous playing of musical instruments, gramophones or the like, or by the continuous overloud use of loudspeakers, wireless listening sets and the like”.
According to the Regulations, there is a fine against contravention of any of the regulations. Regulation 66 states that: “Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with the provisions of any of these regulations; …or fails to comply with any requirement or instruction lawfully made or issued in terms of these regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Two Hundred Emalangeni or six months’ imprisonment or both such fine and imprisonment…”. Through collaborations with the Royal Eswatini Police Service, the Municipality is currently working on establishing a mechanism that will see to it that citizens who continue making noise in the city despite being cautioned are made to pay fines. Operators of bars and other liquor establishments are also warned against noise. The Municipality will continue serving offenders with notices and influence non-renewal of liquor licences against repeat offenders.
…HOSTING MUSIC FESTIVALS, LARGE GATHERINGS WITHOUT MUNICIPALITY’S PERMIT AN OFFENCE
Organizers of gatherings, including music festivals, in a public place are reminded to always make it a point that they obtain permits from the Municipality before hosting such gatherings. Any contravention is punishable by law. Regulation 37A of the Urban Government Regulations, 1969, defines a public place as “any square, park, recreation ground, commonage or enclosed or open space, street, road or thoroughfare which is vested in the town or the Government or any other open or enclosed space to which the public or any section thereof are entitled or permitted to have access; whether on payment or otherwise”. Regulation 37(2)(b) reads: “No person shall convene, hold, arrange or organize a meeting or procession in any public place within the area of any town unless he is in possession of a permit granted to him by the local authority…”. The regulation defines a meeting as any gathering of 10 or more persons. Regulation 43 of the same set of regulations says “any itinerant vocalist or musician performing in any public place shall, when so requested by any police officer or person residing in the neighbourhood where such vocalist or musician is performing, depart from such neighbourhood or cease performing”. One of the conditions set by the Municipality when granting a permit for a gathering is that the noise level must be kept low in such a way that it does not disturb the peace amongst neighboring residents and businesses. The event organizer is also directed to ensure that neighboring residents are notified prior to the event.
…NOISE HOTSPOTS: OWNERS URGED TO STOP DISTURBING PEACE
The following are the noted hotspots for noise in the city and those responsible are urged to desist from disturbing the peace amongst neighbouring residents;
- The Vibe (located in Ngwane Park)
- The Xchange Lounge & Shisanyama (located in Ngwane Park)
- Kabora bar (located at Zakhele)
- Manzini Club
- Moyeni liquor establishments (located in Fairview North)
- Liquor establishments within the Ludwala shopping complex (located in Ngwane Park)
- Liquor establishments within the Sihlahleni shops (located in Ngwane Park)
- Exclusive Joint Guesthouse (located in Fairview South)
- A residence located along Dvoye street in Ngwane Park
- A residence located near the recreational park at Fairview North
… FACTORS THAT QUALIFY URBAN PROPERTY AS ABANDONED
In last week’s article the Municipality brought to the fore the extent of property abandonment in the City of Manzini; with the view to discouraging such as it poses a threat to neighbouring residents. The same information was posted on the Municipality’s social media platforms. From the readers’ reactions, it transpired that some citizens need a bit of enlightenment about what it means for urban property to be classified as abandoned. Today’s article seeks to provide that clarity. According to Section 9 of the Building Act, 1968, “the owner of a building shall, at all times, maintain it in a safe and sanitary condition”. For purposes of clarity, property abandonment may be categorised into two. Category A is a fully constructed and complete building that happens to be deserted with no one occupying it for a long period of time. Such property is usually characterized by overgrown vegetation. Often it is also not provided with security services; resulting in it being vandalized. Category B refers to property whose construction was abandoned before reaching completion. The Building Act states that the permit to construct (also referred to as a Building Permit) that is issued by the Municipality is valid for a period of 12 months.
Should the property owner obtain the Building Permit but fail to commence construction operations within 12 months, the permit lapses. Should the property owner wish to commence construction operations after the lapse of the Building Permit, they are required to apply for permit renewal from the Municipality. On another note, it happens that construction work commenced but for some reason stopped before completion of the building. If it happens that the stoppage continues for a period longer than 18 months, the property is considered (as per the Building Act) as abandoned. What is of concern to the Municipality regarding abandonment of structures, be it fully constructed or not, is that they pose a threat to neighbouring residents as they provide shelter for criminals, become unofficial ‘storerooms’ for stolen items, become a breeding ground for snakes and rodents and they generally make the surrounding neighborhood look unsightly. Even if it may be an estate property, abandonment is not condoned. An effort must be made by the executor or relatives to look after the property until finalization of the process of winding up the estate.
…DID YOU KNOW?
- You are required to pay before occupying parking space in some parts of the city centre within the Manzini urban area. Where there is a green marking next to the parking bay, it means it is a paid parking zone.
- Paid parking was introduced by the Municipality as a means to ensure parking availability in the city. Previously, motorists would park their vehicles the whole day on the streets and travel by public transport to other destinations. That practice resulted in parking scarcity in the city centre.
- The applicable fee is E2.50 per 30 minutes and E5 per 1 hour (for those paying in cash). Parking marshals (identifiable with green/red reflector vests) are authorised to collect payment.
- You can also pay as little as 42 cents for parking; but only if you use Umlamuleli Prepaid Parking Card. The parking card is accessible from any parking marshal.
- Parking without paying results in the vehicle being clamped. A release fee is required before the vehicle can be unclamped.