The Hindi community is outraged that the City of Cape Town did not consult it before making the decision to forego all designated firework discharge sites. Yesterday, the City announced that that it had designated the parking lot of the Athlone Stadium for fireworks to be discharged as part of Diwali festivities.
Speaking to IOL, licensed fireworks vendor Marlin Johnson said that when he contacted Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, he was assured that a Hindi priest was consulted.
When Johnson called his local priest, however, it emerged he was never contacted.
“I was told if we wanted to celebrate this cultural event, we had to make an application to the City. I requested the paperwork on Saturday, and when I received the application forms, I saw we had to submit the application 15 days prior to the event day, which was going to be impossible,” said Johnson.
Johnson is now seeking legal advice.
“They have now availed the Athlone Stadium as a designated site for the discharge of fireworks on Diwali, but I foresee chaos at the site. The Hindi community is big and there are already issues with the fire department and their shifts. Will they have the resources available to deal with the influx of people?” said Johnson.
“In the spirit of respecting this Hindu cultural tradition, the City has, in consultation with interested parties, decided to make available the parking lot at Athlone Stadium on Sunday 27 October 2019, for Diwali celebrations,” the City had previously said in a statement.
“We remind residents that, in terms of Section 30 of the Explosives Act of 1956, the use or detonation of any fireworks in any building and public thoroughfare is liable to a R200 fine; selling fireworks to a child or anyone under the age of 16 is liable to a R300 fine; allowing a child or person under the age of 16 to handle fireworks without adult supervision is liable to a R300 fine.”
Members of the public with information relating to the illegal sale or use of fireworks should report this to the City’s Public Emergency Call Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or to the South African Police Service on 10111.