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Monday Aug 13, 2018

Tshwane jails property owner over noise offences

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 in 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 that the culprit had been jailed.

"The Gauteng Noise Control Regulations are used by municipal health services to enforce noise control in the city of Tshwane.

"The regulations stipulate, 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 the 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 on a similar offence within that period.

"In mitigation of sentence, the city prosecutor Kagiso Ratlhogo said all 26 counts that the accused was found guilty on 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 that 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 explaining the consequences of his actions.

"History has proved that Mafata has no respect for the rule of law and his neighbours," Kruger pointed out.

Municipal divisional head for the Municipal Courts Isak Beukes said the close working relationship between the city's health services section and the Municipal Courts' prosecution section had led to a successful prosecution.

"This will send a clear message to individuals hell-bent on trampling on the rights of others in the community."

Pretoria News


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