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'No justification for this macabre celebration': Guy Fawkes takes its toll in Cape Town

06 November 2019 - 11:26 By Dan Meyer
Cape Town authorities are urging residents to stop celebrating Guy Fawkes. File photo.
Cape Town authorities are urging residents to stop celebrating Guy Fawkes. File photo.
Image: Nikita Ramkissoon

Guy Fawkes "celebrations" saw more than 300 disturbance complaints being logged and youngsters allegedly throwing stones and paint at vehicles in Cape Town.

City authorities reported a spate of incidents directly linked to Guy Fawkes on Tuesday evening - after adopting a no tolerance policy on setting off fireworks in conjunction with the SPCA.

No sites in the city were allocated for discharging fireworks as had been the case in previous years.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said law enforcement staff and the city's public emergency communication centre were kept busy all night fielding 345 complaints about fireworks being set off.

"Metro police officers confiscated fireworks at three locations ... while their law enforcement counterparts confiscated items in Atlantis, Big Bay and Athlone. Officers issued Section 56 notices for selling and storing fireworks without a certificate," he said 

Various incidents, from stone throwing to assault, arson and vandalism were reported, and a group of young people in Tafelsig pelted a police vehicle with stones and flung paint at vehicles on the road. 

Law enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said reports were received of youths in Tafelsig and surrounds, running around with paint, sticks and shoe polish intimidating people.

"Later ... they started stoning buses and smearing vehicles with [shoe polish] and paint. In Lavender Hill and Seawinds youngsters are similarly running around with paint and [shoe polish] and forming human chains to prevent people from entering their residences."

Smith said, "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.

"I call on community leaders, schools and families to start a conversation about Guy Fawkes and the havoc it wreaks.

"It is time we start wiping out this misguided tradition which is being perpetuated by a minority, at the expense of the majority."

He said the city was "unable to quantify" trauma caused to individuals whose houses were damaged or were attacked by youngsters.

"Something has got to give," he said.