Guy Fawkes Day filled with crime, grime, illegal fireworks

Twenty two people were left injured at the City of Cape Town’s designated fireworks sites across the city on Guy Fawkes Day. Eighteen of them were children.

Fifteen of those injuries were recorded at Strandfontein Pavilion where a 10-year-old boy sustained an eye injury and was taken to hospital. Other injured people were treated on site for minor injuries.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, said a busy Guy Fawkes evening was made more challenging by a gusting south-easter.

“The wind conditions resulted in the early closure of many of the 12 designated sites for the discharge of fireworks because of safety considerations. The fire marshal on site at Maiden’s Cove made the decision to close the site as early as 7pm and 8.15pm at Table View,” said Mr Smith.

He added that the closures meant an increase in the number of complaints from other beach areas and open spaces in close proximity, and increase in the number of people at the Strandfontein and Athlone sites.

Away from the designated sites, the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre fielded 209 calls on the day that were specific to Guy Fawkes and the illegal discharge of fireworks.

City staff confiscated hundreds of units of fireworks and issued numerous fines for its illegal sale. They also issued more than 100 verbal warnings about the illegal discharge of fireworks in residential areas and against attack-
ing others with socks filled with paint.

A number of incidents were reported in the Lavender Hill and surrounding areas.

A security guard had to be hospitalised when he was attacked along Military Road by youths brandishing bricks in socks. He sustained injuries to his head and ear.

Law Enforcement officers fired two rounds of rubber bullets to ward off the assailants.

A man on a bicycle on his way home from church and a woman and two children were injured when they were attacked with socks filled with paint, while a boy was run over by a vehicle while fleeing from a gang of youths brandishing these socks.

Another 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,” said Mr

He also urged residents to petition national government for stronger legislation relating to the sale and use of fireworks by the public.