Hamba kahle Moulana Ihsaan
THE City of Tshwane has demonstrated that offences – no matter how minor they seem – will not be tolerated in the metro when it prosecuted a tavern owner for noise pollution.
Phillip Mafata, 44, owner of a tavern in Soshanguve, was sentenced to two years in prison for contravening the Gauteng Noise Control Regulations.
Mafata appeared at the Tshwane Municipal Court sitting at the Soshanguve Magistrate’s Court for sentencing after he was found guilty of contravening the regulations.
He was found guilty on 26 charges relating to noise pollution.
City of Tshwane spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said while they had previously secured convictions for similar crimes, the sentences had been fines, while offending businesses were closed down in other instances.
He said it was the first time the culprit had been jailed.
“The Gauteng Noise Control Regulations is used by Municipal Health Services to enforce noise control in the City of Tshwane.
“The regulation stipulates, among others, that noise generated by a device or activity on a property may not be audible beyond the boundaries of such a property.”
He said the case against Mafata was brought to court by the Municipal Health Services section, which was responsible for all environmental health complaints.
“It was based on the evidence by one of Mafata’s neighbours and City officers who visited the neighbour’s house to take noise measurements,” he said.
The complainant, Kenneth Sithebe, said the nature of Mafata’s business caused much anguish in the neighbourhood because loud music would be played until the early hours of the morning.
“The torture he inflicted on my family and I, causing us four years of sleepless nights, will hopefully come to an end. I am happy with the judgment; I hope it will send a strong message to those who operate their businesses at the expense of others, causing them serious psychological harm,” said Sithebe.
Mashigo said Mafata was previously fined R12 000 for contravening Gauteng Noise Control Regulations after he pleaded guilty to the charges.
“Half of the fine was suspended for three years on condition that he is not found guilty of a similar offence within that period.
“During mitigation of sentence, City prosecutor Kagiso Ratlhogo said all the 26 counts the accused was found guilty of are serious, looking at the fact that they impact on the health and well-being of other individuals,” he said.
Magistrate JC Kruger said it was clear Mafata did not take the suspended sentence seriously. “The accused did not listen to the advice from environmental health practitioners, even after they served him with notices and explained the consequences of his actions.
“History has proven that Mafata has no respect for the rule of law and his neighbours,” Kruger said.
Municipal divisional head for municipal courts Isak Beukes said: “This will send a clear message to individuals hell-bent on trampling on the rights of others within communities that municipal courts are functional and effective to prosecute by-law transgressors.”
Residents experiencing continual noise pollution are advised to report it online or contact the City at 021 480 7700.