#VDJ2016 revelry noise mayhem
Durban - The annual Vodacom Durban July is a highlight on Durban’s social calendar, but some residents and business owners in and around the city centre said this year’s extended revelry left them and their customers with bags under their eyes and a ringing in their ears.
A member of the management team at The Benjamin hotel in Florida Road, who asked not to be named, said that this year celebrations in the popular party street started on Thursday evening and only finished on Monday morning.
Her guests had not been able to get a wink of sleep. “We even bought earplugs for them,” she said.
She agreed that the Vodacom Durban July was an important event for Durban.
“And we support it,” she said.
In previous years, there had only been pre-parties on the Friday before the race and parties on the Saturday on which it fell, and the woman said this was fine.
But she took issue with this year’s celebrations extending to the Thursday before the race and the Sunday after it.
Another business owner in the area - who also requested anonymity - said the weekend had been “a horror”.
“There was too much noise and too many events,” she said.
Her business, which was wellness-related, “could not even function properly”.
Nicky Burke, of the Berea Community Police Forum, said she had received several complaints from residents and business owners alike over the past few days. She called it a “tiring and frustrating” weekend.
But speaking of noise complaints in the area, which were common, Burke warned against tarring all the Florida Road establishments with the same brush.
“It’s not all of them. It’s just a handful - about six or seven,” she said.
She added that no one wanted to do away with Florida Road’s “trendy character”, but said that a balance needed to be struck.
“We appreciate what these places do for the area, but it can’t come at the expense of people’s sleep.”
Miami Boulevard’s Nico Sofilas was hesitant to comment on the issue, and said only that he was a licensed vendor who was allowed to trade until 4am and, in respect of playing music, operated “within the parameters”.
One of the owners at Zorka Social Lounge, Siyabonga Majozi, said her establishment had obtained a special events licence for the weekend, which allowed it to operate until 6am, from Thursday until Monday.
However, they had only gone until around 4am most mornings.
Cubana was contacted for comment and asked The Mercury to send an e-mail, but had not responded by the time of publication.
Florida Road was not the only loud party hub this weekend.
Wendy Harper of Peter Mokaba Road penned a letter to the city complaining about the celebrations at the People’s Park at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“I find it difficult to comprehend how anyone could give permission for music to be played at full volume until 5.30am on a Sunday morning,” she wrote. “This was for the pleasure of a few hundred revellers, but led to anger and lack of sleep for thousands of ratepaying residents.”
“I had pillows over my ears and a relaxing CD playing, but I could still hear the beat and the music, so I’m sure the revellers must have been deaf by the time they went home!”
Ward councillor Martin Meyer said the issue of noise in his areas was a recurring one.
“In Florida Road, there is only one club operating with a legal licence,” he said. “I have complained to the licensing department and metro police, but there is still no law enforcement.”
He said at all the establishments operating with a normal licence - not including Miami Boulevard, which had a special licence - only “soft background music” was allowed.
There was also a nuisance by-law and a national act restricting noise levels. A special events licence only gave its holder permission to host an event, not to violate the law.
Meyer said he had been fighting with metro police and the city over the issue for several years.
The city was contacted for comment, but had not provided it by the time of publication.