The Knysna Municipality has issued a strong warning to persons intending to burn tyres and set off fireworks and crackers on Guy Fawkes Day on Tuesday, November 5. The municipality also launched a campaign to discourage youth from participating in such activities.
The Municipal Manager said the dangerous and destructive practice of burning tyres, fireworks and fire crackers on Guy Fawkes Day had been an unacceptable and unlawful tradition among youth in certain areas for many years.
“Burning tyres are open fires that emit poisonous gasses, posing risk of serious injury and health hazards. Every year during this time people sustain burns and suffer from respiratory problems as a result of these practices – and it is usually the vulnerable individuals such as children and the elderly that bear the brunt of it. The situation is usually aggravated by violence against law enforcement, including the throwing of stones at vehicles and officers,” she said.
The MM said the municipality would not tolerate these illegal activities and would be working together with the South African Police Services (SAPS) to keep the peace and safeguard the community at large. “Offenders may be arrested, fined as well as criminally prosecuted. The Knysna Municipality also reserves the right to institute civil claims against persons found guilty of damage to its property, vehicle and equipment.”
Municipal law enforcement has already increased patrols in the areas usually affected, issuing warnings to youths in the area. They are also scanning surrounding areas for old tyres lying around, which are then removed and taken to a shooting range out of town.
“We have also printed flyers and will be distributing them ahead of Guy Fawkes Day. The flyers warn persons of the health hazards associated with burning tyres and fireworks, and issue a stern warning that action will be taken against offenders. It also appeals for help from the community to guard the streets in front of their houses and to contact the fire department the moment they notice tyres and fireworks being lit. Emergency contact numbers have also been listed.
“It is important that these practices are discouraged and we appeal to the community to help us not only to protect our people but also to find safer and more constructive ways to celebrate this day,” said the MM.