The South African Hindu Maha Sabha (Sahms) has called on the City to allocate additional fireworks sites for the celebration of Diwali. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency. (ANA).
Cape Town - The South African Hindu Maha Sabha (Sahms) has called on the City to allocate additional fireworks sites for the celebration of Diwali.

The City, after banning fireworks displays and doing away with designated spots to set off fireworks, made an about-turn to allow Hindus to set off fireworks in a parking area in Athlone.

Sahms president Ashwin Trikamjee said the City’s change of plans comes as they and a concerned Cape Town resident, Anu Nepal, and Erasmus Ranchod Attorneys were launching a review to set aside the City’s decision to not make any designated fireworks sites available for the celebration of Diwali this year.

“The decision was to be legally challenged on the basis that it was not preceded by any form of consultation with the Hindu community, and violated the rights to equality and freedom of religion in terms of section 9 and section 15 of the Constitution.”

On Wednesday the Cape Argus reported that the City made a U-turn on its decision to ban fireworks after an outcry from the Hindu community days before the start of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Members Sahms threatened to drag the City to court because of the ban, but mayco member for safety and security JP Smith issued a statement on Tuesday saying his initial statement on Friday, in which he said the City was doing away with designated sites for fireworks displays, had been misunderstood.

“The City is now called upon to engage with the Sahms and the Hindu community regarding the allocation of additional designated fireworks sites for the celebration of the auspicious festival of Diwali and Deepavali during 2019, and to include the community in any discussions and initiatives by the City regarding the use of fireworks in a manner which is respectful and accommodating of the rights, cultural practices and religious beliefs of all the City’s residents,” Trikamjee said.

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Cape Argus