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Complaints and injuries mark Guy Fawkes

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The City of Cape Town’s enforcement agencies had their hands full once again as thousands of people marked Guy Fawkes across the city on Wednesday. Metro Police, Law Enforcement, Traffic Services, Disaster Risk Management and Fire and Rescue Services were deployed at the eight designated fireworks sites, while also maintaining a presence in residential areas and responding to 173 complaints from these areas.

It is estimated that approximately 23 000 people gathered at the designated fireworks sites and a total of 16 injuries, most of them fireworks-related, were reported to City authorities, including:
• 7 injuries at Maidens Cove, including two young children
• 1 injury at Strandfontein Pavilion
• 2 boys (aged 7 and 11) injured at Athlone Stadium
• A six-year-old boy had a firecracker detonate in his face at Swartklip
• 3 adults sustained fireworks-related injuries in Table View, while two non-fireworks related injuries were also reported

City enforcement agencies confiscated fireworks to the value of approximately R60 000 as well as 48 bottles of alcohol and issued more than 160 fines for traffic and by-law transgressions.

“These are only the incidents that we are aware of at this stage and of course we can’t speak for other law enforcement and emergency services not linked to the City, so there may well have been many more incidents reported elsewhere,” said JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

“However, I’m sure they would agree that it is utterly senseless to continue devoting this level of resources, time and effort to a tradition that really has no place in our society. It is beyond belief that the majority of residents who do not participate in Guy Fawkes should be subjected to the ongoing madness that we see every year.”

There have been calls on the City to ban fireworks altogether, but Smith said this was not within the municipality’s legislative powers .

“We can only regulate the nuisance value of the fireworks or control the use thereof on City-owned land or public open space – which the current Streets, Public Places and Prevention of Nuisances By-law does in banning the use of fireworks in public places except during approved fireworks displays or events or at the designated sites. Only National Government has the legal powers in terms of the Constitution to ban the manufacture of an item or substance,” said Smith. VOC


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