City of Cape Town warns against illegal Guy Fawkes activities and violent acts
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Cape Town – The Cape Town council is bracing for Guy Fawkes night, a bonfire and fireworks spectacular observed every year on November 5 which has become notorious for dangerous activities and damage to property.
In a statement on Wednesday, the City’s mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the annual tradition, which has its origins in the United Kingdom, had become associated with “acts of violence and intimidation by mobs of youths in a number of hotspots around the metropole”.
In 2019, nearly 350 calls had been received on the day by Cape Town’s Public Emergency Communication Centre (PECC), mostly relating to the illegal discharge of fireworks, Smith said.
He said enforcement agencies had also received complaints of people being assaulted, vehicles being stoned and fireworks being sold illegally.
Already this year, the PECC has received at least 18 calls in the last 72 hours relating to the illegal sale and discharge of fireworks.
“Guy Fawkes crimes are perpetrated by a minority who hold law-abiding citizens to ransom in the name of fun,” Smith said.
“I’ve been very clear in the past that this outdated tradition needs to stop. Apart from the indiscriminate letting off of fireworks that disturb the peace and terrorises animals and communities, the senseless violence directed at motorists and pedestrians can simply not be condoned.”
Law enforcement officers would patrol areas previously identified as hotspots to deter illegal fireworks activities, Smith said, calling this a “nonsensical” waste of manpower which would otherwise be deployed towards more pressing issues.
He reiterated retailers were not allowed to sell fireworks without permits, and the items could not be sold to, or handled by people aged below 16. Residents were also prohibited from discharging fireworks in public spaces without a permit.
With rain expected on Thursday, Smith said he hoped this would be a deterrent on misbehaving revellers.
African News Agency (ANA)