Cape Town calls on residents to reconsider harmful Guy Fawkes antics

2019-11-06 17:19
The City's public emergency communication centre fielded 345 calls between 06:00 and 23:00 on Tuesday, most related to the discharging of fireworks. (Monique Duval)

The City's public emergency communication centre fielded 345 calls between 06:00 and 23:00 on Tuesday, most related to the discharging of fireworks. (Monique Duval)

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While the City of Cape Town reported a "reasonably quiet" Guy Fawkes night, it still called on residents to reconsider celebrations that cause others harm.

News24 reported on Wednesday that a 13-year-old boy was on life support after being hit on the head with a brick.

Groote Schuur Hospital spokesperson Alaric Jacobs said the boy was currently in a stable condition.

The police were also investigating an incident in Elsies River on Tuesday, where a group of children terrorised a man and smeared him with paint.

A video of the incident has since gone viral but no arrests have yet been made, according to police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo.

Safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith said these misguided traditions should be wiped out.

Hurt, pain and anguish

"There is absolutely no justification for this macabre celebration, and the hurt, pain and anguish it causes to so many people; not to mention the drain on City and police resources to deal with the many complaints received which detract from the many other pressing policing priorities in our city.

"I call on community leaders, schools and families to start a conversation about Guy Fawkes and the havoc it wreaks. The safety and security directorate will also consider what possible contribution we can make toward changing the status quo," said Smith

The City's public emergency communication centre fielded 345 calls between 06:00 and 23:00 on Tuesday, most related to the discharging of fireworks.

Fireworks were confiscated in Kleinvlei, Eerste River, Ravensmead, Atlantis, Big Bay and Athlone.

Law enforcement, the metro police, traffic officials and Cape of Good Hope SPCA were all based at a venue operations centre in Goodwood for all eventualities.

"No major incidents were reported overnight, however, officers reported the stoning of vehicles on the corner of Military Road and Prince George Drive in Lavender Hill, where approximately 100 youths had gathered," said Smith.

Firefighters responded to vegetation fires, which were caused by fireworks, along Jakkalsvlei Road in Bonteheuwel and Cravenby Estate but the fires were out by the time they arrived.

Smith said there were also numerous reports throughout the day of youths attacking people and vehicles.

"We are unable to quantify the costs to the individuals whose properties were damaged or destroyed by the vandals who took to the streets on Guy Fawkes. A dent in a vehicle can cost thousands of rand to repair, but the psychological impact is far greater," he added.

"Something has got to give."

Uneventful night for AWS

The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS) said its senior inspector on duty had reported significantly less incidents and reports compared to prior years.

"We would like to think that this was in part due to our robust anti-fireworks efforts and the enlightened decision by JP Smith," said AWS spokesperson Allan Perrins.

He was referring to the City's decision not to designate sites for fireworks except for Diwali.

The AWS received its first call for help at around 20:30. Someone's dog in the Grassy Park/Lotus River area had gotten stuck in a neighbour's gate.

"The owner thankfully managed to free the traumatised dog and successfully stabilised it," Perrins said.

The dog, Storm, received a check up at the AWS on Wednesday morning.

"Despite a comparatively uneventful night we are all drained from staying awake and alert expecting those dreaded calls."

Perrins said the AWS would intensify it educational efforts and call even louder for a ban on fireworks, a decision which could only be made by the national government.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime  |  animals
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