The City of Cape Town has again chosen Table View beachfront as a fireworks venue despite residents’ protesting about this previously.
In just over two weeks, the site near the tourism centre, in Athens Road, will again host thousands of people and their fireworks.
Motorists can expect road closures at Marine Drive between Dolphin Beach Hotel and Marine Circle; and Waves Edge will be closed at Athens Road as well as Popham and Dunbar streets.
People protested along Marine Drive last year against having fireworks in the area (“Ban the bang”, Tabletalk, November 9, 2016).
Apart from Table View, the City has approved 11 other fireworks sites: Athlone Stadium parking area; Wesfleur sports field; Bishop Lavis sports field; Metropolitan sports grounds, in Bonteheuwel; Blue Downs sports field; Maiden’s Cove parking area, in Camps Bay; Delft Central sports grounds; Macassar Beach parking area; Swartklip sports complex, in Mitchells Plain; Sarepta sports complex; and the Strandfontein Pavilion.
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, said the city devoted resources to police the designated areas and ensure events such as Guy Fawkes and Diwali were “incident free” but “everyone had a role to play”, and he urged fireworks revellers to respect the rights of those not taking part in the festivities. The authorities would fine those breaking by-laws and confiscate illegal fireworks.
Karen Davis, chairwoman of the Greater Table View Action Forum (GTAF), said the organisation did not want fireworks in the area, but she commended ward councillor Nicky Rheeder for trying to have the site moved.
However, all the alternatives had been vetoed, and Ms Davis said that in the end it was better to have a planned event with the emergency services and neighbourhood watches involved “than people just pitching up to do their thing with none of the agencies involved”.
Mandy da Matta, vice-chairwoman of the Table View Ratepayers’ Association, said the beachfront was in a shocking state of disrepair and that in itself should have been enough of a reason not to stage fireworks there.
“The lack of water is another point to discontinue the event should a fire result due to an act of negligence of people attending the event. The responsibility rests squarely on the City of Cape Town’s and the ward councillor’s shoulders to ensure that no fire or destruction of property takes place at Diwali or November 5 events”, said Ms Da Matta.
She appealed to those taking part in fireworks festivities to “consider their environment, the residents in and around the beach and each other”.
Toni Brockhoven, of Beauty without Cruelty, was part of last year’s anti-fireworks picket and she has vowed to protest again this year.
“For every one person standing with a board, there will be dozens with us in spirit who agree that it’s time to stop fireworks.”
She questioned why fireworks were still permitted when they caused pollution and noise that traumatised animals.
“Whether it’s new year, Diwali or Guy Fawkes, how is it that those who are ignorant of the facts, or just don’t care, can be allowed to take part in something which is of no value?”
The SPCA has urged pet owners to stay with their pets during Guy Fawkes and Diwali.
“The hearing of animals is far more acute and sensitive than the hearing of a human. If a dog can hear a grasshopper eat, imagine what a firework sounds like,” said an SPCA statement.
Pet owners should keep their pets indoors and consult their vet if the animal was skittish instead of giving it medication intended for humans.
All designated fireworks areas will be patrolled by law enforcement and Metro police as well as a fire inspector.
No person under 16 may discharge fireworks, and 11.30pm is the cut-off time on Guy Fawkes and Diwali.
General emergencies can be reported to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre at 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline. The illegal sale or use of fireworks can be reported to the Metro Police Call Centre at 0860 765 423.
Animal cruelty can be reported to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA at 021 700 4158/9 or 083 326 1604.