Call for fire­works ban af­ter Ta­ble View blaze

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - CARYN DOL­LEY

FIRE­WORKS are set to be the fo­cus of heated de­bate by author­i­ties this week as calls for an out­right ban mounted af­ter Guy Fawkes cel­e­bra­tions caused havoc around Cape Town and were blamed for pos­si­bly spark­ing a blaze in Ta­ble View.

An on­line pe­ti­tion at­tracted more than 100 sig­na­tures shortly af­ter be­ing cre­ated yes­ter­day, and was just one of sev­eral call­ing for a fire­works ban.

The Ta­ble View blaze, one of two fires that broke out on Thurs­day and con­tin­ued burn­ing into yes­ter­day, marked a pre­ma­ture start to Cape Town’s fire sea­son.

Fire­fight­ing resources were stretched, with he­li­copters, due to go into ac­tion only in De­cem­ber used to drop wa­ter in the flames.

May­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for safety and se­cu­rity JP Smith joined the call yes­ter­day for a fire­works ban.

“Not sur­pris­ingly, we have been in­un­dated with com­plaints about why fire­works are al­lowed in the first place.

“The car­nage and mis­ery they cause ev­ery year is too much. I have asked the city to dis­cuss the mat­ter.” The City of Cape Town does not have the le­gal power to ban the im­port, sale and pro­duc­tion of fire­works, but the gov­ern­ment does.

The city or pro­vin­cial author­i­ties may, there­fore, ap­proach the gov­ern­ment to get fire­work leg­is­la­tion tight­ened.

Yes­ter­day Smith said he had placed the topic of fire­works on the agenda of a meet­ing set for Tues­day at which he would ask Mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille to de­cide on ways to tackle the is­sue.

To mark Guy Fawkes on Thurs­day peo­ple were al­lowed to dis­charge fire­works at 12 des­ig­nated sites around the city. Th­ese ar­eas drew thou­sands of peo­ple, re­sult­ing in ma­jor traf­fic con­ges­tion.

Ten chil­dren and six adults suf­fered in­juries and the Metro po­lice re­ceived 309 fire­works- re­lated com­plaints.

Some fire­works were also ig­nited in non-des­ig­nated ar­eas.

Yes­ter­day morn­ing pho­to­graphs cir­cu­lated on­line of beaches still lit­tered with the rem­nants of crack­ers, and may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for util­ity ser­vices Ernest Sonnenberg said clean-up crews had been kept busy.

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