Ru­pert’s ruckus an­noys neigh­bours

CityPress - - News - BIÉNNE HUIS­MAN bi­enne.huis­man@city­

They say good fences make good neigh­bours, but those liv­ing next to the home of busi­ness mogul An­ton Ru­pert in trendy De Waterkant in Green Point, Cape Town, say earplugs would be a bet­ter in­vest­ment. Res­i­dents of the up-mar­ket sub­urb have re­layed how they lay awake un­til the crack of dawn as noise, laugh­ter, power bal­lads and House mu­sic boomed from Ru­pert’s house, which has a bal­cony over­look­ing the V&A Water­front.

Deed doc­u­ments list the ad­dress of the noisy house as Ru­pert’s “res­i­den­tial ad­dress”.

Ru­pert (28) is named af­ter his grand­fa­ther, the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man who founded the Rem­brandt Group in Stel­len­bosch.

He of­fered his apolo­gies in an email to City Press this week, say­ing he would like to “reach out to those who were neg­a­tively af­fected [by the com­mo­tion] ... and apol­o­gise to them per­son­ally”.

De Waterkant is mar­keted as a quaint, sleepy sub­urb with cob­ble­stone streets, and up-mar­ket restau­rants and bars such as Cafe Man­hat­tan and Cubaña Ci­gar Lounge.

But Francesco Uys Rooten­berg, sec­re­tary of the De Waterkant Civic As­so­ci­a­tion, told City Press they had re­ceived seven com­plaints about noise em­a­nat­ing from Ru­pert’s house this past year.

Com­plaints were also re­ceived about il­le­gally parked cars around the house. A black Jaguar and a white Porsche are reg­u­lar fix­tures.

No of­fi­cial charges for dis­turb­ing the peace have been laid with po­lice.

“The nui­sance iden­ti­fied was a com­bi­na­tion of loud mu­sic, and peo­ple talk­ing, shout­ing and laugh­ing within the afore­men­tioned res­i­dence,” said Rooten­berg.

“It’s tough. With busi­nesses, the own­ers can be threat­ened that their li­cences will be con­fis­cated. But with pri­vate res­i­dences, one re­lies on the moral im­per­a­tives of own­ers, of them hav­ing con­sid­er­a­tion for their neigh­bours,” he said.

Loud al­fresco en­ter­tain­ment on the seafac­ing bal­cony picked up steam in the run-up to the fes­tive sea­son.

De Waterkant Civic As­so­ci­a­tion chair­per­son Ian McMa­hon, also the di­rec­tor of the Mother City Queer Pro­ject, said he was aware of peo­ple bang­ing on the home’s door at 5am to get the rev­ellers to turn the noise down.

City Press is in pos­ses­sion of iPhone video clips recorded by a neigh­bour in the early hours of De­cem­ber 16.

It shows men swig­ging from bot­tles on the bal­cony at 4.20am, hav­ing loud dis­cus­sions. Then mu­sic can be heard. Res­i­dents have taken to De Waterkant’s Face­book page to vent their frus­tra­tion.

“Is there any point in com­plain­ing about the noise at the Ru­pert res­i­dence?” wrote a neigh­bour at 11.14pm on Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 9.

Rooten­berg said the noise re­lat­ing to the house was also dis­cussed ear­lier in the year at the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pub­lic meet­ing in Fe­bru­ary, and was noted in min­utes at its AGM in March.

As a re­sult, the as­so­ci­a­tion sent a let­ter to the house in Fe­bru­ary, sug­gest­ing they meet to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion.

The let­ter noted “loud mu­sic and peo­ple talk­ing, shout­ing and laugh­ing un­til 4am”.

It also stated that “guests who at­tend the reg­u­lar par­ties [at the house] ... have re­peat­edly been seen to be park­ing on red lines, yel­low lines and in spa­ces that ob­struct ac­cess to neigh­bour­ing garages or the street”.

Rooten­berg said they re­ceived no re­sponse to the as­so­ci­a­tion’s let­ter. How­ever, in re­sponse to ques­tions from City Press this week, Ru­pert said he had writ­ten to the as­so­ci­a­tion to of­fer his apolo­gies.

He wrote in an email this week: “I’ve al­ready writ­ten to the mem­bers of the De Waterkant Civic As­so­ci­a­tion to of­fer a full apol­ogy for the dis­tur­bances and to let them know it would not hap­pen again, as well as to try to reach out to those who were neg­a­tively af­fected so that I can write to apol­o­gise to them per­son­ally. It was never my in­ten­tion to neg­a­tively im­pact those around me.”

Ru­pert serves as the di­rec­tor of 27 com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing An­thonij Ru­pert Wines and the Leop­ard Creek Coun­try Club, built by golf leg­end Gary Player.

He is also a di­rec­tor of the fam­ily’s Fran­schhoek Mo­tor Mu­seum and their L’Or­marins Wine Es­tate, where the L’Or­marins Queen’s Plate horse race is hosted an­nu­ally, and where for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Trevor Manuel and busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive Maria Ramos ex­changed nup­tials in De­cem­ber 2008.

Ru­pert made head­lines in 2008 when he sur­vived a ma­jor crash in a Fer­rari.

An­ton Ru­pert

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