Fireworks spark concerns

2018-10-23 06:02

With Guy Fawkes and Diwali celebrations just days apart in early November, the City of Cape Town has designated 11 public open spaces for the discharge of fireworks on Monday 5 November and Wednesday 7 November, and New Year’s Eve.

However, while the practice of discharging fireworks may be a tradition to some, ward 72 councillor Kevin Southgate feels a day such as Guy Fawkes should be banned altogether.

“I do not support Guy Fawkes at all as it bears no significance for our communities today. All that it does is it traumatises our animals and increases the risk of injury to people and damage to property,” he says.

Guy Fawkes takes place on 5 November and the Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali, follows two days later on Wednesday 7 November, with the 11 approved sites being:

. Athlone Stadium parking area

. Wesfleur sports field, Atlantis

. Bishop Lavis sports field

. Metropolitan sports grounds

. Blue Downs sports field

. Delft Central sports grounds

. Macassar Beach parking area

. Swartklip sports complex

. Sarepta sports complex

. Strandfontein Pavilion

. Tourism Centre, Table View beachfront

All designated fireworks areas will be patrolled by City Law Enforcement and Metro Police as well as a fire inspector to ensure the safety of all concerned. The discharge of fireworks will not be allowed after 23:00 on Guy Fawkes and Diwali, with New Year’s Eve being the exception.

Southgate adds that the cost to the City to manage the sites approved for the discharge of fireworks amounts to hundreds of thousands of rand which could be used to support programmes and services that will add real value to communities.

“We are going to find that people are not going to go and discharge their fireworks at the designated areas and will do so in residential areas, which places a further strain on our resources. In my opinion, Guy Fawkes should in actual fact be banned,” he says.

While the practice of discharging fireworks is allowed in controlled areas, residents are reminded that they may only buy fireworks at an accredited retail outlet, children must be supervised at all times when around fireworks, fireworks must not be lit inside any type of container, Chinese lanterns are not allowed, and one should never discharge fireworks while under the influence of intoxicating substances.

The illegal discharging of fireworks could lead to a R200 fine, while anyone selling fireworks to a child or anyone under 16 is liable for a R300 fine; and anyone allowing a child or person under 16 to handle fireworks without adult supervision is liable for a R300 fine.

“Children and animals are often the victims of fireworks-related injuries and this year I want to focus on reducing the number of injuries to these vulnerable groups during Guy Fawkes. I urge parents to keep a watchful eye over their children and to ensure that they are supervised at all times. In the meantime, pet owners should keep their pets indoors as far as possible as pets are left traumatised, particularly by the illegal discharge of fireworks in residential areas,” says Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith.

V Anyone with information relating to the illegal sale or use of fireworks should report this to the City’s Public Emergency Call Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone; or to the South African Police Service on 10111.

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