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Crackers crackdown on those who disobey firework bylaws this NYE

Those who fail to adhere to municipal bylaws regulating fireworks could face fines of up to R10,000.
Those who fail to adhere to municipal bylaws regulating fireworks could face fines of up to R10,000.
Image: Nikita Ramkissoon

Authorities across the country have conducted a number of operations in the run-up to the much anticipated end-of-the-decade celebrations on Tuesday night. 

The SAPS in Gauteng, with other law-enforcement agencies, started raids and checks on Monday to ensure that planned and unplanned NYE celebrations across the province run smoothly.

“New Year's Eve celebrations are characterised by fireworks displays, where the sale thereof and the display in most cases are found to be in contravention of municipal bylaws. To this end, police have confiscated fireworks worth tens of thousands of rands from various shops," Gauteng SAPS said in a statement. 

On Monday, police seized fireworks from an unlicensed trader in Eersterust, Pretoria, after the community complained about the shop selling to children as young as seven.

Meanwhile, the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban have also vowed to crack down on revellers who abuse alcohol and fireworks on their beaches.

Cape Town'’s law enforcement liquor unit has confiscated nearly 7,500 bottles of alcohol since the beginning of December.

City mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said NYE would be no different and cautioned the public to refrain from setting off fireworks. 

“We urge the public to keep cool heads as they usher in the new year. We want everyone to have a safe and fun-filled time, so make sure to avoid drinking and driving or any other antisocial behaviour; do not drink in public spaces and refrain from setting off fireworks. The latter is only allowed where a permit for a fireworks display has been applied for and granted," said Smith.

eThekwini municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela cautioned residents to use fireworks responsibly and be considerate of their neighbours and animals — or face the possibility of a fine of up to R10,000. 

“The municipal bylaw allows for fireworks to be set off from 11.45pm on December 31 until 00.15am in the new year. However, there are conditions that residents need to adhere to. Low-hazard fireworks, such as fountains, lawn lights and sparkles, can be lit in private homes. Fireworks such as air bombs, supersonic bangs, sound shells, fountain whistles and screeches are prohibited as they cause a disturbance and are a nuisance to neighbours."

Mayisela said the bylaw also calls for children under 16 years of age to be properly supervised by an adult when letting off fireworks.

“Fireworks should be detonated away from hospitals, clinics, old-age/nursing homes, animal welfare organisations and petrol stations. Fireworks should not be pointed towards any person, as this is dangerous. Residents are also reminded that fireworks cannot be recycled and therefore they need to be disposed of appropriately, in black bin bags."

Fireworks. Stock image.
Fireworks. Stock image.
Image: 123rf.com/nd3000

He urged residents not to dispose of fireworks in orange refuse bags, as this is deemed unsafe, since fireworks cannot be recycled.

“Residents are requested to be responsible and comply with the fireworks and waste bylaw. The following numbers can be used in case of an emergency: eThekwini Fire and Emergency Unit and Metro Police on 031 361 0000. The SPCA can be reached on 031 579 6500," Mayisela said. 

Durban will usher in 2020 with a laser light display on North Beach pier and a pyrotechnics display on Wedge Beach pier simultaneously at 11.45pm.

Provincial department of health head Dr Sandile Tshabalala said come the first day of the new year, it is not uncommon to find patients, including children, in clinics and hospitals with firecracker-related injuries to the eyes, face and fingers.

“The use of firecrackers may cause harm and create fires in the house. We must be careful, particularly in small spaces. Rather use firecrackers in areas that are open, far from children and elderly people. So, as people enjoy themselves, we urge them to do so responsibly, so that there are no regrets.”

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