Sleepless night

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Noisy music concert and drunk revellers vex residents

NOISE levels from the Ndlambe Music Festival, including a loud reverberating bass that continued until 3.30am on Saturday, had local residents venting their sleepless anger on Facebook.

The annual concert, which is partially sponsored by Ndlambe Municipality, proved particularly disturbing for residents who live on the ridge above the hospital field where the concert was staged.

When one resident called the Port Alfred police station to complain about the noise, she was told that police had received “500 calls already”.

Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender confirmed that numerous complaints had been received.

Donne Wentzel started a thread on the Talk of the Town Facebook page, posting: “This ‘music festival’ mentioned/diarised for today, December 16, being held at the municipal grounds and positioned directly below residents/complexes above has become a disturbance played at full volume with a distorted bass vibrating the entire area. As there is a R100 per person entrance fee this event should be held at an indoor venue. This is unacceptable as an open air event!”

Many other people agreed with Sloan Mayoni when he wrote: “My concern to all of this is, isn’t it disturbing patients at the hospital? I know some of us won’t agree on that but isn’t the municipality violating the patients’ rights?”

Bianca Kleynhans wrote: “I can’t sleep and I am just on top of the hill, can’t imagine what poor hospital patients feel like with no sleep and being sick and sore. Go take your party out of town where no one is disturbed and all can get rest while you party. There is a lot more to life than booze and loud music.”

“It was awful, keeping us awake till 3 this morning. Surely that sort of noise pollution is illegal after midnight. Are the police deaf?!” Grahame Martin asked.

“We could hear it in Gleneagles Drive which is near the St Andrews Hotel,” said Lynn O’Kelly.

Angi Bezuidenhout suggested the large community centre at Thornhill would be an ideal venue for the music festival. Tracy Nettelton Phillips said Centenary Park would also be a perfect spot.

There were voices of dissent, like Simphiwe Mhlantla Tsibani, who said: “Let the fun be, no boundaries.”

Residents also complained about noise emanating from the krantz braai area on the other side of the hospital.

“Wait until season is in full swing, you won’t get any sleep till after the New Year. The partying at the braai area at the bottom of the hill is bad! It was a nightmare,” wrote Kim Nolte.

Ryan Owsley started another thread when he wrote: “Port Alfred leadership, I’m sorry but this is ridiculous. If you want a designated drinking area, fine. But you must fence the area in and enforce legal age drinking and keep drivers inside the area too and also check the drunk as @#$! drivers leaving the area and also please stop the drinking and bottle breaking on west beach parking lot. This is not within the law!”

Others mentioned the dangers of driving past the krantz with drunk people wandering onto the busy R72.

Tony King wrote: “The police seem to have instruction not to act on actual drinking on beaches and public areas. The only way is take the municipality to court to get them to write bylaws in this connection because there are apparently none that prohibit this type of behaviour in Ndlambe.”

Others asked what had become of the police roadblocks from a few weeks ago.

In response to TotT’s queries, Govender said police had made several arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour and for drunk driving during the December 16 revelry.

“Numerous complaints regarding the event have been received, including noise complaints,” she said.

“During the debriefing session of the event all the challenges and complaints will be addressed at length with the relevant stakeholders. All the statistics will be gathered for the debriefing session and will be released then.”

Ward 10 councillor Ray Schenk said: “I empathise with the residents living in proximity of the hospital grounds where the music festival was held and they have legitimate concerns. Going forward, another venue will have to be found to host this event.

“I do not condone public drinking or public drunkenness and find it despicable that anyone should behave in a disorderly fashion. To overcome this behaviour is a work in progress and we will have to find ways and means of curtailing this. This is definitely an issue that will be placed on the Ward 10 committee agenda as well as the agenda for the Ward 10 ‘War room’. Residents’ comments on a practical solution to this problem will be welcomed.”

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