The Johannesburg Metro Police (JMPD) has established a forum together with religious bodies following a surge of complaints from residents about churches in their neighbourhoods, in particular regarding noise-making.
JMPD spokesperson, Wayne Minaar says this is an avenue that will help layout by-laws that are found to be contravened by churches.
Sixteen churches have been closed since January, he adds.
Since January there were 144 churches raided...what we found is that some of these churches were in buildings that were not zoned for the purpose of a church.— Wayne Minnaar, Spokesperson - JMPD
We'd find a church in a shop for example. One cannot have a church inside a flat or a building that is not suitable for a church.— Wayne Minnaar, Spokesperson - JMPD
He says these illegal churches were closed down for contravening the City's emergency by-laws such as having no emergency fire escapes or fire extinguishers.
With this forum we will be able to deal with the issues which affect the communities and I think we will be able to solve a lot of the problems related to loud noise, overcrowding of pavements, obstructing of traffic - those are the main complaints that we were receiving.— Wayne Minnaar, Spokesperson - JMPD
Click on the link below to hear the full interview...