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Residents complain about noise pollution

20 October 2021

Residents complain about noise pollution Unity Fellowship Church in Midway, Soweto THULANI MBELE. Church calls in HRC over decadelong dispute By Tarddso Makhetha A Soweto church embroiled in a longstanding dispute with the City of Johannesburg over noise pollution has approached the SA Human Rights Commission to mediate. Yesterday, the HRC visited Unity Fellowship Church in Midway, Soweto, which has been reported to the city for contravention of bylaws by local residents. The church on the border of an industrial area and a residential area has had runins with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department JMPD due to alleged noncompliance with noise levels.

In February, the church's leaders were arrested after congregants clashed with metro police officers who tried to shut it after neighbours complained about intolerable noise coming from its premises and contravention of lockdown regulations. As a result, a series of court applications have been lodged both by the city and the church over the enforcement of bylaws. Last week, Pastor Mpfariseni Mukhuba and her husband, Dr Theophilus Mukhuba, approached the commission to help mediate their disputes with the city. Mukhuba yesterday told the commission's provincial head Buang Jones of their decadelong struggles with the city. "We took the matter to the commission because we are concerned that since the shootings happened in February, we were violated and have experienced police brutality. We obtained a court order against JMPD in 2015 and they still came and attacked us while we worshipped," Mukhuba told Sowetan. Jones said the commission hoped it could mediate before the matter escalates. "The thing about courts is that the winner takes all and there are no compromises. We received the church's complaint and decided to meet so that we can determine how we can resolve this issue in a manner beneficial to both parties." Residents in the area said they had grown tired of complaining about the unbearable noise from the church. Nkosana Mahlangu said: "After February, the church stopped making a lot of noise but it started again a few months ago. We just want this matter to be resolved so that we can live in peace."

Rhirandzu Maluleke said: "There are many churches that exist in some communities and none of them make life hard for residents around them. This church needs to be relocated because we can't live like this." JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said they have been experiencing a problem with the church for the past decade about noise pollution complaints. "Its hard to sum up the number of times that officers have to go there and request the church to lower their noise because residents in the area are complaining."

Source: Sowetan

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