Cape Town to clamp down on illegal fireworks during Diwali, Guy Fawkes

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A selection of fireworks.
A selection of fireworks.
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  • Cape Town officials are warning residents to be extra careful when setting off fireworks this week.
  • The City says the use of fireworks without a permit will not be allowed.
  • Animal welfare organisations are urging pet owners to keep an eye on their pets as Guy Fawkes Day celebrations are around the corner.

With people across the world celebrating Diwali and Guy Fawkes Day this week, Cape Town officials are warning residents to be extra careful when setting off fireworks.

"The City's enforcement services will increase its patrols this weekend in a bid to curb lawlessness," the City said.

According to the City, it will no longer be providing designated fireworks sites for Diwali, Guy Fawkes Day or New Year's Eve. It said no fireworks will be allowed unless a permit for hosting a fireworks display has been obtained.

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"No person may store or sell fireworks without the necessary permit, no person under 16 is allowed to handle fireworks, and the discharge of fireworks in a public place, without a permit, is prohibited," the City added.

Last year, the Public Emergency Communication Centre recorded 238 calls for illegally discharged fireworks and 17 for the illegal sale of fireworks.

The highest number of calls were received from Beacon Valley and Lentegeur in Mitchells Plain, and Bonteheuwel.

Assaulted

"Numerous incidents went viral on social media of adults and elderly persons being chased, threatened and assaulted by mobs of youngsters brandishing socks filled with paint, shoe polish, but also sharp objects designed to cause harm," the City said.

There is an increased risk of criminality spilling over into the weekend because Guy Fawkes Day falls on a Friday (5 November), says the City.

Meanwhile, animal welfare organisations are pleading with pet owners to keep an eye on their furry friends.

A spokesperson for the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Belinda Abraham told News24 it had become increasingly evident that reckless individuals were using fireworks in an "anti-social manner".

READ | Canine caper: Cape Town woman pays R500 ransom after dog kidnapped on Table Mountain

"Over the past few years, the effects of Guy Fawkes continue for weeks following fireworks use... many animals become distressed at the level of noise, and they flee in panic in an attempt to reach a place of safety," Abraham added.

The SPCA said the Animals Protection Act clearly stated that "it is illegal for any person to terrify any animal", yet thousands of animals ended up at the SPCA every year, lost and abandoned, disorientated and sometimes severely injured.

Dog

Abraham recalled one of the worst cases the SPCA had dealt with over the years after a dog named Justice picked up a lit firework.

"The firework had discharged in his mouth, resulting in lacerations, burns and fractures to his palatine bones and temporal mandibular joints and damaged teeth. It was horrific to see," she said.

The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa said with Guy Fawkes Day in mind, they had already prepared to receive lost and stray pets due to the use of fireworks.

"When lost pets are adequately identified, it makes the task of reuniting them with their owners that much easier. We, therefore, appeal to pet owners to please identify their pet(s) preferably with a microchip or at least with a safety collar and tag," said spokesperson Allan Perrins.

Residents have been encouraged to report any fireworks incidents to the City's Public Emergency Communication Centre on 021 480 7700 from a cellphone, or 107 from a landline.

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