Many fireworks injuries

2017-11-07 06:00

A 10-year-old boy was one of 15 people who were injured at Strandfontein Pavilion during Guy Fawkes celebrations on Sunday.

“The City of Cape Town’s safety and security directorate is relieved that Guy Fawkes has come and gone, after a fairly busy evening, made all the more challenging by a gusting southeaster,” says JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social ­services.

The wind conditions resulted in the early closure of many of the 12 sites that allowed fireworks because of safety considerations. The fire marshal on site at Maiden’s Cove made the decision to close the site as early as 19:00. A similar decision was made in Table View at 20:15.

“These closures meant an increase in the number of complaints from other beach areas and open spaces in close proximity, but also an increase in the number of people at the Strandfontein and Athlone sites, which turned out to be the busiest on the night,” he says.

A total of 22 injuries – to 18 children and four adults – were recorded.

And of these, 15 injuries were recorded at Strandfontein Pavilion. Here a 10-year-old boy sustained an eye injury and was taken to hospital.

Another 10-year-old sustained a leg injury in Sarepta. All other injured people were treated on site for minor injuries. Just before 23:00, staff confiscated a bakkie load of illegal fireworks at Athlone stadium.

Away from the designated sites, the City’s public emergency communication centre received 209 calls on the day about Guy Fawkes and the illegal discharge of fireworks.

City staff confiscated hundreds of units of fireworks and issued numerous fines for the illegal sales.

They further issued more than 100 verbal warnings against the illegal discharge of fireworks in residential areas and the use of paint socks.

In Lavender Hill and surrounds a security guard had to be hospitalised after he was attacked along Military Road by a gang of youths brandishing bricks in socks. He sustained injuries to his head and ear. Law Enforcement officers fired two rubber rounds to ward off the attackers.

A man on a bicycle on his way home from church was attacked with paint socks, a woman and two children were injured when a gang attacked them with paint socks, a boy was run over by a car while fleeing from a gang of youths brandishing paint socks and a man on his way home from work was attacked and robbed by three youngsters in Drury Road, Capricorn.

“This is but an example of the terror many communities endure on Guy Fawkes. Apart from the disturbance that fireworks cause, the behaviour of marauding gangs attacking innocent people is downright criminal. The constant sound of fireworks also masks the sound of gunshots, making it difficult for police to respond to real emergencies effectively,” says Smith.

“The review of the bylaw relating to streets, public places and prevention of noise nuisances next year offers an opportunity to take a fresh legal and constitutional look at the City’s powers in [limiting use of fireworks]. Furthermore, we urge civil society to petition national government for stronger legislation relating to the sale and use of fireworks by the general public.”

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