On Wednesday 16 February, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that only soothing background music will be allowed to play in Hatfield area bars Aandklas and Springbok Bar.
The University of Pretoria applied for the court order after receiving numerous complaints from staff at three of their female residences.
The acting judge, Piet Ebersohn, read the riot act to the two establishments saying that “while customers are enjoying refreshments on the property”, the bars are forbidden to play anything except background music. Judge Ebersohn also said that they may not carry out any activity on the property “that results in humans, animals and/or machines … causing or making disturbing … and excessive noise.”
The bars were also legally forbidden to perform any activity that goes against the town planning scheme in terms of which both have been zoned as places of refreshment.
Apparently, residents of Madelief, Magrietjie and Asterhof complained that they could not study or sleep because of the loud music and the shouting and cheering of students from nearby bars, which continues until the early hours of the morning. Zarése van Dyk, Chairperson of Magrietjie Residence, said, “All of us are students and we like going out. I too like loud music, but there is a time and a place for everything. You don’t want to hear loud music on a Sunday when you are returning from church.”
Judge Ebersohn also said that there was no merit in any of the several legal points raised by the two bars. “There is clearly a vast difference between ‘background’ music and music being played loudly through amplifiers and loudspeakers with a prominent thumping beat, causing students inconvenience and stress.”
Perdeby spoke to Mr Rudi Oosthuizen, co-owner of Aandklas. Mr Oosthuizen said that although they respect the opinions of the residences he feels that the residences should have come and spoken with him to try and resolve the matter. “Aandklas was approached about the issue in 2007 and we feel that it was resolved then.” Apparently preventative measures were taken and then nothing further was heard from the residences. Aandklas is currently in the process of appealing.
The manager of Springbok Bar, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that Springbok understands the opinions of the residences but hoped for a better outcome. Springbok Bar has installed a certified limiter according to government specifications. The manager also said that they are going to wait and see what happens with the Aandklas appeal. The manager also feels that the outcome was unfair, because Springbok Bar has on many occasions hosted and sponsored the Miss Asterhof pageants.
According to Judge Ebersohn, it was clear that both Aandklas and Springbok Bar had been approached on more than one occasion about the loud noise without any success.
The two bars have to pay the legal costs of the university’s application. At the time of going to print the university was not available for comment.
Additonal investigation by Chris van der Merwe