Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba to close down 'noisy' churches this festive season. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Johannesburg - Illegal churches operating in the inner city and suburbs, causing disturbance to neighbouring communities, are to be closed down this festive season.

At the official opening of the City of Joburg festive season safety campaign, involving metro police and emergency services in Sandton, metro police chief David Tembe and Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba confirmed that the churches would be closed down.

Metrowatch has received numerous complaints about them operating in the inner city, and other suburbs, without permission, causing noise level pollution and parking problems from Friday to Sunday evenings every week.

Mashaba said: “If they are operating in the suburbs without required permits, we will shut them down.

“Legitimate traditional churches are operating within normal hours and not disrupting residents”.

Metro police have conducted several raids, confiscating chairs and sound equipment, which were quickly retrieved by the churches after paying a nominal fine of R1500.

Said one Bellevue resident, who asked not to be named: “The city is toothless. They issue court orders for the churches to be closed which are always ignored.

“In fact, they are increasing operations.

“The church next to us has now installed bright lights which keep us awake all night. I have installed new curtains to block out the lights, but even those do not help,” he said.

This is besides the noise and the parking problems in the streets, he added.

The Star