The eThekwini Municipality’s new Nuisances and Behaviour in Public Places By-Laws ("the By-Laws"), which were drafted by a consortium of legal practitioners, including ourselves, came into effect on 11 March 2016.  The By-laws provide for, inter alia, measures for preventing, minimising and/or managing public nuisances and prohibit certain activities or conduct in public places.  They cover everything from roller-skating to the transport of animal carcasses, and stipulate that anyone convicted of an offence in terms of the provisions thereof is liable to a fine not exceeding R40 000.00 or to imprisonment not exceeding 2 years, or both.  The full list can be found at http://bit.ly/1Vg0ten and an overview of what is contained therein can be found below.

In terms of the By-Laws, no person may, in a public place, act in a manner that is dangerous to life or that may damage property.  No person may, in a public place, use abusive, threatening or foul language or gestures, fight or act in a riotous or physically threatening manner, spit, consume any liquor or be in a state of intoxication, engage in gambling or wagering or discharge fireworks (except in accordance with other relevant law pertaining to fire and fireworks).  No person may, in a public place, carry through a public road any item which, owing to, inter alia, its smell, noise, vibration or size, is likely to cause a nuisance including, inter alia, the carcass of an animal, garbage, night-soil, refuse, litter, rubbish or manure (unless carried in a manner allowed by law or which does not cause a greater level of discomfort, inconvenience or annoyance than that allowed by law).

The By-Laws further prohibit any person, other than a duly authorised official of the Municipality, from planting or cutting down a tree in a public place without written permission from the Municipality; climbing breaking or damaging a tree growing in a public place or in any way marking or painting any tree or attaching any advertisement thereto; drying, spreading or hanging, inter alia, washing, bedding carpets or rags in a public place; depositing, dumping or discarding, in a public place, any waste or litter either  in a manner that detracts from the cleanliness of the place or which causes a nuisance or anywhere other than in a receptacle provided by the Municipality.

They further provide that no person may, in a public place, cause any disturbance of the peace of any person by shouting, screaming or making any other loud noise, including amplified noise, except where such noise or sound is emanating from, inter alia, an authorised public meeting or gathering.  They also prohibit any person from causing or permitting to be caused any disturbance or impairment of the convenience or peace of any other person within the following times: from Sunday to Thursday, between 21h30 to 07h00; and from Friday to Saturday, between 00h00 to 08h00.