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Q and A: Urajh is fed up with noise

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Q: A supermarket in Durban has installed six fridge condenser units alongside my property that run continuously. I have complained to the owners and our local environmental health sector.

Tests were done. Recommendations were made. It has been two years now with no favourable solutions.

A: You just have to become addicted to your cause, and keep climbing the ladder till you find someone with the power to act. Start with your ward councillor. Please check your local by-laws.

“3 Noise nuisance “No person shall in a public place: (a) cause or permit to be caused a disturbance by shouting, screaming or making any other loud or persistent noise or sound, including amplified noise or sound; or (b) permit noise from a private residence or business to be audible in a public place, except for the purposes of loudspeaker announcements for public meetings or due to the actions of street entertainers.”

Further research indicates we do have protection under the law. Noise pollution can be described as unwanted or offensive sounds that unreasonably intrude into daily activities.

Under most circumstances, tolerable noise will not cause people to complain, but there are circumstances where the volume, extent, or recurrence will cause irritation and frustration.

Fortunately, South African law, through the Environment Conservation Act 73 of 1989 and municipal by-laws, protect recipients from intolerable noise pollution. In the case of Prinsloo v Shaw 1938 AD 570 575 the court stated: “… a resident in a town, and more particularly a resident in a residential neighbourhood, is entitled to the ordinary comfort and convenience of his home, and if owing to the actions of his neighbour he is subjected to annoyance or inconvenience greater than that to which a normal person must be expected to submit in contact with his fellow men, then he has a legal remedy.”

* If you have a question for Don, send it to or SMS only to 0824463859.


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