Cape Town - Flash mobs and events sparked by social media and online campaigns, such as the Moonlight Mass bike ride, may be accommodated in proposed changes to the City of Cape Town’s events by-law.

City director of events Teral Cullen told the tourism and events portfolio committee on Thursday that the by-law was last amended in 2009. But the role of the city and event organisers had changed with the enactment of the Safety and Sports Recreation Events Act of 2010.

This meant that the city’s events by-law needed to be amended to align it with national legislation.

“When does a group become an event? This is key, because the Moonlight Mass started like that,” said DA councillor Beverley Schafer, at on Thursday’s committee meeting.

The ride was almost cancelled last year when the city revoked its permit under the act because it did not have an adequate safety plan.

To ensure compliance with the legislation, the city would have to ensure that all events included a safety officer.

Schafer said this would be problematic for organic community events whose organisers would not know how to find a safety officer.

But Anton Groenewald, executive director of tourism, events and marketing, said the city’s disaster risk management team ensured the safety of visitors at all city-approved events if the organiser did not appoint an external safety officer.

“The onus rests with the city. The default is that if we say yes and an incident occurs then it is up to the city to prove that it followed due process.”

The city was still waiting for the outcome of the Linkin Park inquest. A person was killed in 2012 when temporary scaffolding collapsed.

Schafer said that while the city’s liability was important, it also needed to create an enabling environment for people to stage events.

Cape Argus