South Africa: Response to City of Cape Town's Fireworks Sites Ban Mainly Positive

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(file photo).

There has been a largely positive reaction to the news that the City of Cape Town will not have any designated sites for fireworks this year.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said that while people were not allowed to set off fireworks in terms of the Community Fire Safety By-law, the City had made an exception for a number of years.

This had been to accommodate events on Guy Fawkes, Diwali and New Year's Eve.

Smith said they had decided on a different approach this year, as there was a "decreased appetite from subcouncils to approve designated sites".

The cost of running these sites - which included deploying resources and officials - was another factor.

Smith said the City was also mindful of the growing public sentiment opposing the use of fireworks.

"Given that there will be no designated sites this year, the City appeals to residents to please refrain from setting off fireworks," he said.

In terms of the by-law, no one is allowed to operate a public fireworks display without getting prior permission and a permit from the chief fire officer or municipal manager.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA welcomed the City's stance and said it was long overdue.

It called on law enforcement agencies to ensure that there were sufficient measures in place to apprehend those who continued to set off fireworks.

"Historically, animals have suffered long at the expense of humans with fireworks in South Africa and we hope that the rest of the country will follow suit with this bold move by the City of Cape Town."

Many on social media welcomed the news, especially animal owners. A few were more sceptical of how this would be enforced.

One man on Facebook said: "Yeah, so instead of having designated areas, now people will just shoot of (sic) fireworks randomly. So we will see an increase in injuries, fires and more animals will be hurt. Just because something is law, doesn't mean people will actually follow it. And who will police this? SAPS that don't answer their phones? Law Enforcement who only man their phones until 5pm?"

Another commented: "That's great but won't it be interpreted as a free for all to shoot crackers just anywhere?"

Smith reminded residents that they could be liable to a R200 fine if they used or detonated fireworks in a building or public thoroughfare, in terms of the Explosives Act.

"Selling fireworks to a child or anyone under the age of 16 is liable to a R300 fine [and] allowing a child or person under the age of 16 to handle fireworks without adult supervision is liable to a R300 fine."

Those who wish to report the illegal sale or use of fireworks can call the City's Public Emergency Call Centre on 107 from a landline, or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone, or the South African Police Service on 10111.

Source: News24

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