Durban - Umhlanga residents and nightclub owners are set to clash in court over claims of loud music.
A resident of The Pearls apartment block, Shaun Caine, who is at the forefront of the battle with the clubs, says he is determined to have Cottonfields and XS Nightclub shut down. He alleges they are operating illegally without the required licences.
Caine said he had had a series of meetings with eThekwini Municipality representatives to discuss the loud music played by the establishments which are directly opposite his block.
“I am prepared to foot the legal bill even though it will be costly. We are not going to tolerate this any more. You cannot have this disturbance next to an upmarket residence.”
This week the municipality issued a closure notice to Cottonfields and restricted XS Nightclub’s trading hours to four hours on Friday and Saturday, and three on Sunday.
However, owner of Cottonfields, Brent Greyling, was granted an urgent interdict in the Durban High Court late on Friday overturning the order and allowing him to continue trading this weekend.
Tozi Mthethwa, head of communications at eThekwini Municipality said, “The city has noted the complaint and will investigate the alleged transgression and implement applicable sanctions as per municipal processes.”
Caine said he was tired of complaining about the noise.
“After six years of hell, I am going to do everything in my power to ensure we finally get some peace and quiet.
“A licence hearing was called by the municipality’s head of licensing department. Meetings were held on December 6 and 13. The next meeting will be on January 15. It was discovered at these meetings that the owners of these clubs have flouted the law.”
He alleges that Cottonfields is not licensed to operate the rooftop party venue where functions for hundreds of people were held.
“They are also not allowed to play any amplified music, which they do. They throw rooftop parties with hundreds of people and the structure is not built to hold that.
“They clarified at the second meeting that this area is not to be used as it is not registered with the National Building Regulation or licensed for use.”
He said XS was not allowed to operate throughout the week but they were doing so… “And, I believe their nightclub licence is in dispute.”
Ward councillor Heinz de Boer said he had received numerous complaints from residents about the noise.
He said this was to be expected from a mixed use development.
“It has come to my attention recently that two clubs, namely Cottonfields and XS, are not properly licensed. Unfortunately the municipality does not have the teeth to deal with this.”
Greyling said he had received notice to close on Friday but had been granted an urgent interdict to prevent further harassment and forced closure.
“I am a restaurant- cum-sports bar. The restaurant is open from noon to 11pm, and the bar operates thereafter until 2am. As per our liquor licence we are allowed to serve alcohol until 2am.
“I bought the business three months ago but Cottonfields has been in operation for many years. This is just a personal vendetta, even though I have tried to be accommodating.”
Dave Morkel, owner of XS nightclub, agreed that there was a vendetta. He said the municipality had put restrictions on his trading, allowing him to trade for four hours on a Friday and Saturday, and three hours on a Sunday – restrictions that “will ruin me financially” in peak holiday season.
“I have been operating here for over seven years and had meetings with the developers when The Pearls were being built because I anticipated problems, having a mix of commercial and residential.
“I have tried to be accommodating while I try to eke out a living. I have taken advice from senior counsel to fight this but have no choice but to adhere to the municipal regulations for the time being,” he said.