Councillor calls for Guy Fawkes ban

Youth in Bonteheuwel walking through the streets assaulted residents and smeared them with shoe polish and paint.

A Bonteheuwel ward councillor wants Guy Fawkes banned after scores of children bunked school to terrorise the neighbourhood.

The youngsters hit and swore at anyone they caught in the streets, including several elderly people, on Tuesday November 5, and smeared them with paint and shoe polish, according to ward councillor Angus McKenzie, who has started an online petition to support his call for a ban.

The children were aged 10 to 15 and should have been at school, especially now during exam time, he said.

But most had admitted to him that their parents had bought the paint and fireworks for them, he said.

Mr McKenzie said it was the parents’ job, not the police’s, to make sure children were at school.

“I am really disgusted by this, but what’s more worrisome is the parents who covered up for their children and those who purchased paint and fireworks for their children. I am in complete support of Guy Fawkes being banned completely.

“Adults are well aware of the law, but they have encouraged their children to break the law. They should know whether their children go to school or not.”

The Metropolitan Sports Field in Bonteheuwel had for years been a designated fireworks site, but few had used it, he said.

This year the City didn’t make any fireworks sites available for Guy Fawkes.

Bonteheuwel resident Jillian Brandt supports a ban on Guy Fawkes. She said the community had been left shaken after about 25 children ran up and down Bluegum Avenue throwing paint and bricks at people.

Ms Brandt said parents had feared for their children’s safety as they returned from school.

“I am totally disgusted by the behaviour of the youth after the last few days. We want to live in a civilised community. My child laid awake until 11pm on Tuesday waiting for the fireworks to stop.

“I am in complete agreement that it needs to be banned as fireworks can hurt people and burn down houses. We are living in such a poor community, but people would rather buy fireworks than a loaf of bread and litre of milk.”

The fireworks also traumatised animals, she said.

“Sadly many people don’t have control of what their children do and say and even whether they attend school or not,” she said.

According to the City’s Public Emergency Call Centre, there were 345 calls between 6am and 11pm last Tuesday, the bulk of which were for the discharge of fireworks including 272 calls about the setting off fireworks, 12 for assault, eight calls about intimidation, five cases of fighting, and three calls about damage to property, among other things.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said firefighters had fought a vegetation fire in Jakkalsvlei Road caused by fireworks.

He said that under the Explosives Act of 1956, you could be fined R200 for detonating fireworks in a building or in public and R300 for selling fireworks to anyone under the age of 16 or allowing them to handle fireworks without adult supervision.

You can report the illegal sale or use of fireworks to the City’s Public Emergency Call Centre at 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or to SAPS at 10111.

Bishop Lavis police station’s spokesman warrant officer Joseph Swartbooi said no arrests were made.