Vehicle owners could pay fines of up to R1 000 if their passengers are caught tossing cigarette butts out of their car windows.
According to the City of Cape Town’s amended Fire Safety By-Law, the fine will not be given to the perpetrator but sent to the registered owner of the car.
The amendment, which was approved by the full council and promulgated in the Provincial Gazette in June, comes after a tourist allegedly caused the devastating fire on Table Mountain in 2005 when he tossed a “stompie” out of his car window.
British tourist Anthony Cooper, 36, faces charges of culpable homicide and contravening the National Veld and Forest Fire Act. He is set to appear in the Cape Regional Court in November.
The amendment stipulates that if a person throws a lit match or cigarette from a vehicle and the action is likely to cause a fire, the person shall be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to be culpable and liable to a fine.
But Denzel Ramedies, station commander of Fire and Rescue Services, said people would only be prosecuted if they were likely to cause fires.
“If the perpetrator throws a butt out on a main road, it is likely that we would not charge the car owner. But if it is close to an open field and could cause a fire, we will take action.”
Ramedies urged people who witnessed transgressions of the by-law to call the 24-hour Emergency Control Centre on 021 424 7715.
The caller would be re-quested to provide the location, date and time of the incident and a description of the vehicle and would have to make a sworn affidavit to the police.
The fire department would then trace the registered owner of the vehicle and send a fine.