Slap on wrist for noise nuisance charge

Brian Isaacs.

The case relating to a noise nuisance complaint against former principal of South Peninsula High School’s (SPHS) Brian Isaacs’ use of a public address (PA) system ended in Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, with the principal being given a warning.

The case had been going on for more than a year. The Bulletin was provided with recordings of Mr Isaacs making political statements, singing and playing music over the PA system. Residents complained that he also did this over some weekends.

On February 26 some of the 100 people who had signed a petition in a bid to get Mr Isaacs to stop using the PA system, filled courtroom five at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.

In court Mr Isaacs also spoke of “apartheid beneficiaries wanting to control the area”, an issue he returned to during a one-on-one interview with the Bulletin at his Lansdowne home (“The school goes on”, says SP principal, Bulletin, March 17).

At one point the education department instructed Mr Isaacs not to use the PA system – which had been installed in 1984 – and during his interview with the Bulletin, Mr Isaacs said the school had toned it down, no longer playing music, despite pupils enjoying it and despite research showing that music settled pupils.

Hearing that he had lost the case Mr Isaacs, wrote to the Bulletin, saying the story began in 2001 when a resident who lived one kilometre away from SPHS complained to the City of Cape Town that the PA system was creating a noise nuisance.

The City, however, refused to pursue the matter. Mr Isaacs also claimed the subsequent “campaign” against the school’s PA system had been driven by a resident who was angry that the school would not allow pupils off the school premises to support his tuckshop.

“This resident then became very aggressive towards the school. He started a campaign to get rid of the school’s PA system. He gathered the support of the councillor for the area and sent a petition to the City but they were not prepared to mediate,” wrote Mr Isaacs.

At the end of 2012 the magistrate threw the matter out but it was later placed back on the court roll.

“I attended over 30 court appearances over a period of four years. The City has wasted tax-payers’ money,” Mr Isaacs wrote in his letter to the Bulletin.

The matter was eventually concluded on Tuesday November 1, when Mr Isaacs was found guilty of noise nuisance.

“The school spent R60000 to defend itself by appointing a human rights lawyer (and) the school will always be grateful to Abubakr Hendricks for fighting for a basic human right, that is freedom of speech. The school considers it a victory in that the school can still use the PA system,” wrote Mr Isaacs.

The Bulletin asked the WCED for comment but Paddy Attwell said they had not been involved in this case.

When asked to comment on the matter, ward councillor Carol Bew said she had been informed by the City’s legal department that Mr Isaacs had been found guilty, no fine was given but he was instructed that should he do this again he would face court again.

The Steurhof Civic Association said they had not heard anything about the final ruling.