Law enforcement officers had their hands full on Guy Fawkes Day as they responded to violent incidents in Cape Town as people “celebrated” the annual commemoration.
Cape Town law-enforcement Wayne Dyason said groups of youngsters attacking each other and bystanders with socks filled with paint or shoe polish had been reported in Steenberg, Lavender Hill, Vrygrond, Seawinds and Pelican Park.
“Cars have also been targeted. In Macassar, fireworks and stones were thrown at passing vehicles,” he said.
“In Military Road, Steenberg, a truck had its windscreen smashed by rocks.”
Apprehending those behind the mayhem was difficult as the groups disappeared between houses when officers responded to the scene, Dyason said.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith on Wednesday said Guy Fawkes Day had, in recent years, become associated with “acts of violence and intimidation by mobs of youths” in a number of hotspots across the city.
Last year, almost 350 calls mostly related to the illegal discharge of fireworks were received by the public emergency communication centre, while enforcement services fielded complaints of cars being stoned as well as assaults.
Law enforcement also confiscated fireworks being sold illegally.
By Wednesday morning, the call centre had fielded at least 18 calls in three days from people complaining about the illegal sale and discharge of fireworks, Smith said.
“Guy Fawkes crimes are perpetrated by a minority who hold law-abiding citizens to ransom in the name of fun. I’ve been very clear in the past that this outdated tradition needs to stop,” Smith said.
“Apart from the indiscriminate letting off of fireworks that disturbs the peace and terrorises animals and communities, the senseless violence directed at motorists and pedestrians can simply not be condoned.”
He warned that:
- No fireworks were allowed unless a permit for a fireworks display had been obtained;
- No one may store or sell fireworks without the necessary permits;
- Anyone younger than 16 was not allowed to handle fireworks, and the discharge of fireworks in a public place without a permit was prohibited.