The owner of a tavern in Soshanguve has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for contravening the Gauteng Noise Control Regulations.

Phillip Mafata, 44, appeared at the Tshwane Municipal Court sitting at the Soshanguve Magistrate Court on Friday, 03 August 2018, for sentencing after he was found guilty of contravening regulations 8, 9 and 15 of the Gauteng Noise Control Regulations. He was found guilty on 26 charges relating to noise pollution.

The Gauteng Noise Control Regulations of 1999 promulgated under Section 25 of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989 (Act no.73 of 1989) is currently used by Municipal Health Services to enforce noise control in the City of Tshwane.  The regulation stipulates amongst others that noise generated by a device or activity on a property may not be audible beyond the boundaries of such a property.

The case against Mafata was brought to court by the City of Tshwane’s Municipal Health Services Section which is responsible for all environmental health complaints. It was based on the evidence by one of Mafata’s neighbours and City officers who visited the neighbor’s house to take noise measurements.

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.

Mafata was previously fined 12-thousand rands 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 on a similar offence within that period.

During mitigation of sentence, the City’s prosecutor, Kagiso Ratlhogo, said all the 26 counts the accused was found guilty on are serious looking at the fact that they impact on the health and well-being of other individuals.

“In meting out the sentence, the court must consider the fact that enforcement of the Gauteng Noise Control Regulations and Noise Management Policy of the City of Tshwane effectively deals with the rights to a healthy environment as afforded to citizens in terms of Section 24 of the Constitution,” Ratlhogo said.

In handing down a sentence, magistrate JC Kruger said it is clear that Mafata did not take the suspended sentence serious.

“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 proven that Mafata has no respect for the rule of law and his neighbours,” Kruger said.

The magistrate emphasized that the community expects justice from the courts and prison sentence is a fitting punishment for Mafata.

City of Tshwane’s Divisional Head for Municipal Courts, Isak Beukes, said the close working relationship between the City’s Health Services Section and the Municipal Courts Prosecution Section has led to the successful prosecution. 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.

Media Relations Director at the City of Tshwane, Mr Lindela Mashigo, said Tshwane residents who are experiencing continuous noise pollution are advised to contact the City’s Municipal Health Services Section on 012 358 4656 or [email protected]> to register their complaints.