Dispute over fireworks at V&A Waterfront marks run-up to New Year’s Eve event

The V&A Waterfront is appealing a City decision that could prevent the popular destination from ushering in the New Year with a fireworks display. Picture: Independent Newspapers Archive

The V&A Waterfront is appealing a City decision that could prevent the popular destination from ushering in the New Year with a fireworks display. Picture: Independent Newspapers Archive

Published Dec 28, 2023

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While the V&A Waterfront has been successful in its appeal for a noise exemption permit to discharge fireworks on New Year’s Eve, animal welfare activists have approached the courts for an urgent intervention.

The popular tourism destination had received all necessary permits from the City and police earlier this month. However, the City withdrew the noise exemption permit, saying this was as a result of a number of objections and only allowed for entertainment and amplified music at the stage. The Waterfront appealed the decision.

The City on Wednesday said city manager Lungelo Mbandazayo upheld the appeal.

“The City Manager, in his capacity as the Appeal Authority, has upheld the internal appeal lodged by the V&A Waterfront against the decision of the City’s delegated authority to withdraw a noise exemption for the fireworks display this morning.

“As such, the Noise Exemption to discharge fireworks initially granted to the event organiser stands.”

This comes as the Cape of Good Hope SPCA filed an urgent application at the Western Cape High Court to interdict the fireworks display.

According to SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham, this was done on Friday after no confirmation or undertaking had been received from the V&A Waterfront that it would not be proceeding with the display.

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

“In the application, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA has submitted the necessary opinions, position statements and reports compiled by 29 experts so as to better advise the Honourable Court of the devastating injuries and harm that both domestic and wild animals shall suffer as a consequence of the intended fireworks display.

In the court papers, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA summarised the concerns, the injuries and other harmful or adverse effects the fireworks display will have on animals and the environment. The SPCA remains committed to the protection and the welfare of all animals.”

V&A Waterfront CEO David Green confirmed that they had received a letter from attorneys representing the Animal Welfare Society, but said they could not comment in terms of their rights to approach the court.

“We applied for permits right in the middle of November. Everything went well and we got all the permits in the first week of December.

Then less than a week later, the City withdrew the permit, and part of that withdrawal process allowed us an appeal.”

Cape Times