The City of Cape Town announced that the ‘Noise Nuisances’ section of Cape Town’s Streets, Public Places, and Prevention of Noise Nuisances by-law does not apply to places of worship operating within appropriate zoning.
According to the City, it has updated its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on noise-related complaints to confirm the handling of matters related to places of worship with sensitivity and dignity under provincial regulations, and not as a ‘noise nuisance’ under the by-law.
“The updated SOP makes it clear that, should noise complaints relate to a place of worship with appropriate zoning, the Noise Nuisances section of the Streets by-law does not apply and is not the correct or applicable legislation in this instance.
“The Provincial Noise Control Regulations – read with National Standards set overall limits for all forms of sound in communities, related to technical measurements. The Constitution enables all citizens to enjoy freedoms, including religious freedom, in ways that do not unreasonably inhibit the freedoms and rights of others,” the City indicated.
The City went on to say that the updated SOP on noise complaints stipulates that designated officials must ensure sensitivity and care in consulting a place of worship on any regulatory noise abatement measures as may be necessary, so as not to inhibit religious freedom.
“The SOP further states that, wherever possible, if the City can assist a complainant and subject to resolve the issues between themselves amicably, through conversation or neighbourly mediation, it will do so,” the City said.
Meanwhile, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith further mentioned that the SOP formalises the operational procedure that has been in place since 2019.
“With these latest standard operating procedure updates, we are providing the necessary reassurance to places of worship, while ensuring clarity on fair procedures for handling noise-related complaints in communities. We further extend an open invitation to religious leaders to assist the City with monitoring the implementation of the SOP,” Smith added.