Cape Town – The dispute between the Good Party and the public prosecutor’s office over the City of Cape Town’s new Noise Pollution Ordinance, which affects the Islamic call to prayer, the Adhan, has escalated to the South African Electoral Commission (IEC).
DA Western Cape leader Albert Fritz has filed an official complaint with the IEC saying that the Good Party had deliberately campaigned to spread false information by claiming the city had the Islamic call to prayer criminalized.
“We call on the IEC to take strong and urgent action against Good and his candidate for mayor, Brett Herron, with respect to that part of the electoral law that specifically deals with willful false testimony.
“This section states that no one should publish false information in order to disturb or prevent an election or to create hostility or fear in order to influence the course or outcome of an election. The IEC should do the right thing and sanction what is good, ”said Fritz.
The controversy arose on Wednesday after DA Council members used their majority to enforce controversial changes to the Bylaws for Roads, Public Places and Noise Prevention and Herron issued a statement saying the changes were a Failed to comply with the DA’s 2019 obligation to exclude the adhan and the ringing of church bells from the definition of noise pollution.
Cape Town’s outgoing mayor Dan Plato responded to Herron, saying the city had not broken its word.
“These changes are in no way relevant to the call to prayer. The city has never silenced a single mosque in Cape Town, nor does the road ordinance allow it.
“In the future, more sections of the statutes will be reviewed and there will be ample opportunity for public input on how best to serve all Cape Town residents and the diverse needs of communities.
“I called Moulana Shaykh Allie, the first vice president of the Muslim Justice Council (MJC), to rectify the report after the lies spread by the Good Party,” said Plato.
On Thursday, Herron stuck to his guns and said Plato was splitting hairs. He admitted that Plato was right as the amendments did not criminalize or forbid the adhan.
“The changes do not address noise nuisance at all, making the adhan and church bells vulnerable to further noise complaints.
“There is no reasonable explanation that the prosecution failed to address the noise nuisance sections of the statutes as they were busy drafting amendments. There is no reasonable explanation as to why this has to wait until next year, ”said Herron.
The Secretary General of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Shaykh Zaid Dantie, said, “We are very concerned about the Adhan and the city’s new noise pollution ordinance.”
He said the classification is offensive to all religions that have calls to prayer of one kind or another, and we want all religious groups to be exempted from the statute
“When the city called for a public statement on the statutes in April, we had an open and frank discussion with the chairman of the security portfolio committee, Mzwakhe Nqavashe (DA).
“We told him our fear was that these statutes would make even stricter rules, but he assured us that while religious practices were not specifically mentioned in the statutes, they were not affected.
“The proof, however, lies in the pudding and we will be watching very closely how it goes on. If it becomes a problem we will get back in touch with the city, ”said Dantie.
In 2019, the Zeenatul Islam Mosque on Muir Street, District Six was the focus of noise complaints against the call to prayer.
When the mosque committee appealed to the city, the city carried out its own scientific test which showed that the noise level of the Adhan was within the accepted decibel level as set out in the statutes.
An independent online petition in support of the mosque was signed by over 100,000 people.