A petition has been launched calling for City of Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis to start the process of amending the noise and nuisance by-law of 2007 relating to places of worship.
The Mughammadiyyah Masjid committee stated that they are aiming for 10 000 signatures digitally and physically to demonstrate to the mayor that their demand has the support of a large proportion of the residents of the city.
They shared that they recently received a notification from the City to turn down the volume of the Call to Prayer, as a result of a complaint received in terms of the Western Cape Noise Control Regulations.
This was after the Hill-Leiws announced the “Noise and Nuisance” section of the Streets, Public Spaces and Prevention of Noise and Nuisances By-law is no longer applicable to designated places of worship in terms of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) applicable to places of worship.
They said Hill-Lewis reneged on his promise to amend the By-law and proceeded by leaving the By-law intact and only updated its SOP relating to the By-law.
“Although the Mughammadiyyah Masjid committee understands and appreciates why the mayor felt it necessary to adopt a quick-fix, expedient approach on a burning issue such as the exemption of places of worship from the Noise and Nuisance By-law, we cannot understand why the mayor insists on maintaining it as a permanent feature and not initiate a more rigorous, public participatory, democratic process of amending the By-law itself in parallel,” they said.
Responding to this, the mayor told IOL that the policy they released last month makes it clear that the Athaan and church bells are protected if the venues are properly zoned as places of worship. “We are committed to this protection – it is secure and meaningful, and it isn’t going anywhere. This means that the only regulation which still applies is the provincial noise control regulation, which is only enforced in terms of specific decibel limits – this is fair and reasonable in a plural society, something the masjid management wholeheartedly agrees with,” he said.
Picture: Cape Town Etc