Stop destructive Guy Fawkes ‘tradition’

JP Smith, Mayoral committee member for safety and security

As we approach November 5, I call on communities to stand up to the very destructive behaviour that is synonymous with Guy Fawkes.

For years, the City has highlighted the criminality disguised as celebration that has become commonplace in so many of our suburbs.

Our enforcement services are already gearing up for what will likely be yet another nightmare for many law-abiding citizens.

It is not lost on us that Guy Fawkes falls on a Friday this year, which increases the risk that the criminality will spill over into the weekend, piling misery on even more innocent bystanders and animals.

Last year, the Public Emergency Communication Centre recorded 238 calls about the illegal discharge of fireworks, and 17 about the illegal sale of fireworks.

The highest number of calls were received from Beacon Valley, Lentegeur and Bonteheuwel.

Numerous incidents went viral on social media, of adults and elderly persons being chased, threatened and assaulted by mobs of youngsters, brandishing socks filled with paint, shoe polish, but also sharp objects designed to cause harm.

In recent years, there have also been increasing reports of vehicles being stoned as they pass through some suburbs.

This year, we call on schools, community leaders, families and parents to work with the City by keeping their children indoors where possible, and to advocate for change by highlighting the destruction, trauma and anguish that the actions of a few have on entire communities.

This type of behaviour has no place in our society, and it is time for change.

The City’s enforcement services will increase its patrols on the day in a bid to curb lawlessness.

Residents are encouraged to report any incidents, including the illegal discharge of fireworks to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone, or 107 from a landline.

The public is reminded that the City is no longer providing designated fireworks sites, and that no fireworks will be allowed, unless a permit has been obtained to host a fireworks display.

In addition:

  • No person may store or sell fireworks without the necessary permits.
  • No person under 16 is allowed to handle fireworks.
  • The discharge of fireworks in a public place, without a permit, is prohibited.