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Tuesday Oct 22, 2013

Cape Town clubs have an 'attitude' problem

Crime is not endemic to Cape Town's Long Street, but is rife throughout the CBD where nightclubs are operating, says the City of Cape Town.

Many of these establishments have applied for extended liquor trading hours, despite not having valid business licences.

Taki Amira, the chairman of the Good Hope subcouncil, which is responsible for the city centre, said: 'Some of these clubs were non-compliant for over a year before they applied for the extended trading times.

'With this type of attitude and complete disregard shown by so-called responsible traders for city laws, one should not ask why crime is prevalent in the area,' said Amira.

Concerns have been raised about the safety of Long Street, after a journalist witnessed several stabbing incidents there a fortnight ago.

JP Smith, the city's mayoral committee member for safety and security, has said the city will review its crime strategies in the area.

Nightclubs have to meet health, noise and safety requirements to qualify for a business licence.

Amira said several clubs had applied for extended trading hours in May, despite being non-compliant with the city's safety and licensing regulations.

According to a report submitted to the subcouncil yesterday, there were 22 applications for extended trading hours in May. The council deferred 13 of these to allow them an opportunity to meet the requirements for a business licence.

Six of these establishments did not take advantage of the 90 days' grace and they are still non-compliant. The subcouncil therefore refused their applications for extended trading hours. Urban Chic Hotel complained in its objection to the subcouncil: 'We do not support any applications from any nightclubs or bars in Long Street as we struggle enough as it is with those that have licences until 4am. 'My staff and I do not lodge noise complaints with the metro police or the CCID (Central City Improvement District) any more for fear of intimidation.'

Objectors expressed concern that the city was not doing enough to stop businesses such as these from operating outside the law.

'Cape Town presents itself as the best-run city in South Africa and yet it seems that it is incapable of dealing with a single nightclub and allows its citizens to be victimised without doing anything,' noted one objector.

The city's draft 'control of undertakings that sell liquor' by-law is open for public comment until Thursday next week.

Amira said that while the by-law created an opportunity for establishments to extend their trading hours, it also made it illegal for any alcohol to be consumed on the premises after the permitted selling time.

'Club owners are reminded that if they have not applied yet and have not been given permission to do so, their trading hours end at 2am.

'I will ask law enforcement to continue to deal with those who trade outside their trading hours.

'This could result in a report to the liquor licensing tribunal and the reconsideration of their liquor licences,' said Amira.

Cape Argus


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