City By Law – To Clamp Down On Public Nuisances

Ethekwini Municipality’s nuisances and Behaviour in Public Places By-law, which strives to ensure residents live in a clean, quiet and generally nuisance free environment, will be operational from 11 March 2016. The By-law clearly outlines what behaviour is acceptable in public places and what the penalty will be if you are found in contravention.

Ethekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said cities compete for tourists, investors and talent worldwide therefore it is incumbent upon Durban to put measures in place to promote the transformation of eThekwini into a world-class City. “We take the concerns of residents over issues such as littering, urinating in public spaces and other general disorderly conduct very seriously. “We believe that these types of unacceptable conduct will be effectively dealt with through this By-law,” said Nxumalo.

There are serious consequences for those found in contravention of an offence under this By-law. They are liable to a fine not exceeding R 40 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both the fine and imprisonment. The maximum payable fine of R 40 000 caters for inflation since a by-law can be in place for 30 years or more. If this amount is too low, the by-law would need to be amended more regularly to keep the fine amount in line with inflation. In the case of a continuing offence, an additional fine not exceeding R 200 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 days will be imposed for each day the offence continues.

Training of officials, including Metro Police, to enforce the by-law has been underway for months. To ensure compliance, the City’s Legal Unit has been actively involved to ensure coordination within the Municipality and various stakeholders outside the Municipality regarding implementation. This includes stakeholders in the criminal justice system such as Metro Police, the South African Police Service, Department of Justice through the courts including the Magistrates and Prosecuting Authority, who will be working together in enforcing the by-laws. Nxumalo said by-law enforcement forms part of the core competencies for Metro Police, in addition to traffic enforcement and crime prevention.

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