Few illegal fireworks

With the exception of the coast, illegal fireworks did not cause much trouble this New Year's Eve.

04 January 2017 | Crime

Reports from around the country indicate that illegal fireworks were not a major problem, but isolated incidents were reported at the coast, Otjiwarongo and Katima Mulilo.

In accordance with Namibian law, firework displays are banned unless a special permit has been obtained from the NamPol Explosives Unit or municipalities.

Most of the illegal fireworks on New Year's Eve were reported in Walvis Bay, according to a report from the town's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

Numerous phone calls were received about fireworks in residential areas, an SPCA spokesperson said.

“We picked up 11 dogs that were running around scared in the streets, and about seven which we could not catch as they were too afraid to come close with the fireworks going off all over.”

To date, only two of the 11 dogs have been claimed by their owners and the SPCA is unable to take in more dogs as the kennels are overfull.

“Fireworks should be banned because no matter what we are trying and no matter how many flyers we hand out or time spent at roadblocks, people just do not care about the law and why should they then care about the safety of neighbours' children or animals,” the spokesperson said.

Windhoek City Police spokesperson Edmund Khoaseb told Namibian Sun that very few complaints were made in the city and no arrests were made.

In Katima Mulilo, concerned residents called the police about an announcement of a fireworks display at Zambezi River Lodge.

NamPol's regional head of operations, Deputy Commissioner Robert Sanjahi, said he had not been informed of the display, which requires a valid permit as well as a pre-inspection by a police explosives expert.

Sanjahi told Namibian Sun that a request would have to be submitted through his office, and he was unaware of such a request.

No confirmation of whether the display did in fact go ahead could be obtained from a spokesperson at the Protea Hotel head office in Windhoek. Management at the hotel said they were not permitted to speak to the press.

Namibian Sun was informed that all relevant spokespeople were still on leave and would only be available next week.

A spokesperson for the Swakopmund SPCA told Namibian Sun that although the centre of town was quiet, “Mile 4 was horrendous, as it is every year”.

The spokesperson said although the police and neighbourhood watch groups, in addition to security companies, “do the best they can, it is very difficult to regulate”.

Residents in the Orwetoveni neighbourhood of Otjiwarongo told Namibian Sun that several residents set off crackers, fireworks and reportedly shot into the air on New Year's Eve.

“My dogs and chickens were terrified. The animals and children got a terrible fright. And although the police came, these people would just hide, and only continue when the police were away again,” the concerned resident said.

She said the shooting of guns posed a huge risk to residents.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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