High court showdown over New Year’s Eve fireworks display in Cape Town

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Joined: Oct 2016

The V&A Waterfront and Cape of Good Hope SPCA will face off in court on Friday in a wrangle over a New Year’s Eve fireworks display at one of the continent’s most visited tourist destinations.

The SPCA is seeking an urgent interdict at the high court in Cape Town to prevent the midnight display, saying it poses a threat to endangered, threatened and protected species at the V&A Waterfront and Table Bay Harbour.

The V&A Waterfront, which attracts almost 24-million visitors a year, said on Thursday the display would go ahead “unless a court says otherwise”, after successfully appealing a decision by the City of Cape Town to withdraw a noise permit for the event. 

Cape of Good Hope SPCA chief inspector Jaco Pieterse told Cape Talk in an interview: “The city is a sponsor of the V&A Waterfront’s event and the city has made a contribution of R500,000 to the event on condition their fireworks display does not exceed five minutes, so it is evident the city has no issue with fireworks taking place.”

“The V&A Waterfront and Table Bay Harbour are home to endangered, threatened and protected species that will suffer immense harm and injuries,” said the SPCA.

“There has been a large public outcry from animal welfare organisations, animal rights groups, concerned residents and others regarding the planned fireworks display. However, this has fallen on deaf ears.”

The V&A Waterfront said on Thursday: “We’ve taken everyone into consideration, including residents, tenants and visitors to the Waterfront. We’ll have a fireworks display at midnight and it will only last five minutes.

“We wanted to give you plenty of notice so you can make necessary arrangements to minimise the noise and disruption for yourself, your family and your furry friends.”

The city on Friday said it sponsored a variety of events within its boundaries, “aiming to stimulate economic growth and create employment opportunities. The New Year’s Eve celebration at the V&A Waterfront, in particular, serves as a vital economic catalyst, fostering employment for event service companies, artists and other service providers.

“This event not only draws a significant number of visitors to the city, but also garners international attention during the New Year’s Eve countdown.

“This event is free to the public and residents and visitors are able to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The city’s sponsorship [is] contributing R500,000 to the stage, screens and audio. As part of the approval the city requested the fireworks display be limited to five minutes.

“Consistent with the city’s standard sponsorship procedures, the V&A Waterfront is responsible for securing all necessary permissions mandated by applicable legislation.”


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