Monday, September 21, 2009

Julius has a housewarming party.

Newspapers have a lot to thank Julius Malema for.
When newspaper sales are down, the latest Julius story serves as a booster. On a slow news day, a Julius event will spice things up.
Take this past weekend when the Judicial Services Commission hearings were boring and not much else was happening. Hey presto - word got out about Julius Malema's house warming party.
Apparently it was a huge party with lots of booze, lots of party animals bouncing around and lots and lots of noise. A police reservist, who declined to be identified for fear of victimisation, claimed he tried to ask Julius to tone things down a bit, and got sworn at and smacked around a bit. He claims he plans to take legal action, but this will mean him being identified, so who knows what will happen now.
This party had tongues wagging, the opinion piece columnists punching out paragraphs and radio talk shows buzzing all day long. By all accounts it was a fantastic party - pictures of the porta-loos set up outside his apparently impressive property bore testimony to the fact that the Saturday night bash was incredibly well attended. But it was just a party, and much digging by journalists uncovered that all the neighbours had been informed in advance and most were quite happy about the raucous happening in their street.
So I was not all that thrilled to be tasked with digging up the by-laws on noise pollution in Sandton. It was an enlightening exercise as I discovered that neither the Metro police spokesperson nor the City of Joburg spokesperson were aware of the specifics of the law. They did not know what the cut-off time for loud parties was, nor did they know how many decibels are permissable and what constitutes a breaking of the law.
In any case, as they rightly pointed out, even if they did know, no traffic cop in this city carries a decidel measuring device with him when he attends to angry complaints. Plus they are generally reluctant to take harsh action against alleged offenders as this is apparently an extremely popular category used by neighbours waging tit-for-tat warfare against each other - so metro cops are regularly called out to so-called complaints only to discover that the supposed offending party-thrower is quite innocent.
Only the most hard-headed deejay facing an extremely aggressive complaint will face action, and this generally amounts to a confiscation of his sound system.
So there you have it. Joburg metro cops are far from keen to bust up parties, don't really know the ins and outs of noise pollution by-laws and can't even measure the extent of the complaint.
At least this frees them up to concentrate on all the murders and hijackings, I suppose.

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