Loud late-night Pentecostal churches and street corner preachers have become a real nuisance at Walvis Bay, to the extent that one well-known pastor was arrested recently for keeping his neighbours awake with his high-volume sermons.

The late-night antics of some Pentecostal churches are now being likened to that of prank-callers and shebeens. Irate neighbours have reported that the noise levels emanating from some late-night sermons are on par with the rowdiest of shebeens at the harbour town.

The said preacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was due to appear in the Walvis Bay Magistrate court this week. Lady Luck, however, smiled on him at the last minute when all charges were dropped due to a miscommunication between the magistrate and the police.

An officer in charge of community affairs, Sergeant Ileni Shapumba, told New Era yesterday that his office is bombarded on a daily basis by complaints
from residents, angry about the noise that often keeps them awake way past midnight.

“We’ve become mediators between some churches and angry residents. It’s not only the churches that people complain about, it’s also shebeens, street corner preachers and sellers that are harassing residents,” he said.

Shapumba said noise polluters are supposed to know they need to control their noise output, especially after 22h00: “We do not want to resort to arresting people, but if they disregard the law we will have no choice but to arrest them.

“However we want people to use their own discretion and exercise responsibility.
Noise should be confined to the environment where it is produced and should not deprive others of their well-deserved rest.”

He also warned residents to refrain from prank calls. On Tuesday night Nampol received information via a call that a local school was on fire. When rescue and emergency services, however arrived at the school, no fire could be detected.

Shapumba said this is not the first time that the police received such prank calls: “[Emergency] calls are regarded as important and life-saving, but sending us on a ghost hunt is costing money.”

He emphasised that those making themselves guilty of such crimes would be tracked down by law enforcement officers and dealt with.

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