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Organisers of any public event involving 50 or more people must apply for permission from their local municipalities, or face being fined up to R15 000 or jail time. This excludes events held at purpose-built venues (such as municipal stadiums and halls), funerals and processions.
During a presentation to the province’s local government standing committee this week, Seraj Johaar, the Local Government Department’s director of municipal governance, warned that municipalities were entitled to impose hefty fines on event organisers who flouted the law.
“In extreme cases, they could also face imprisonment,” he said.
The Western Cape Standard By-law on Holding Events was promulgated in 2011. The by-law was introduced as a “general guide” for municipalities two years ago but, to date, only two of the 30 municipalities in the Western Cape (the City of Cape Town and Saldanha Bay) had promulgated similar by-laws, Johaar said.
The by-law sets out the requirements and conditions under which events may be hosted; grants right of access and inspection to the municipalities, and aims to ensure that events do not impact negatively on service.
Johaar told the committee that the number of events being held in various municipalities was increasing, “yet the staging of events is often done in an adhoc manner”.
ANC MPL Pierre Uys said anyone planning an event must apply to the local municipality for permission first.
“Disasters happen so quickly, every risk has to be looked at,” Uys said.
Cope MPL Mbulelo Ncedana said that on Sundays, he could hardly drive down the road where popular Gugulethu hangout Mzoli’s is situated. “People park everywhere… What if a fire breaks out there?” Ncedana said.
In Cape Town, organisers can be fined between R1 000 and R15 000 for holding an event without a permit.