Durban - New Year’s Eve is looking like it will be a real dud for fireworks retailers who say sales are down by almost 50 percent with customers spending an average of only R200 each.
Soni Raj, of Haribol’s Fireworks in Durban’s city centre,
said customers usually started phoning in orders from mid-December.
“But it is almost the end of the month and look around,” he said, gesturing to a shop full of boxes, promising the biggest and best explosions, but just a handful of customers.
He attributed this to an increase in the price of fireworks which, he said, was the result of the weakening rand.
Sheila Ramjee, of Karson’s Fireworks, said she had been less busy than she had been in previous years.
Of the fireworks she’ d sold, Ramjee said, display items had been more popular.
“The Hundred Shots is a favourite. It explodes in a hundred colours but it doesn’t make a sound,” she said.
Even at Desai Cash and Carry, where a banner proclaimed the store the “cheapest in town”, business was slow.
For the police, the prospect of a quieter New Year’s Eve was welcome. Metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi
warned those who planned on letting off fireworks to ensure they conformed to the by-laws. or they could face a fine of R1 500 or even imprisonment.
Fireworks could not be let off near petrol stations, old age homes or hospitals and they were only allowed between 11.45pm and 12.15am.
“Children under 16 are not allowed to use fireworks and be sure not to buy illegal fireworks.”
Only low hazard fireworks, with low noise levels, were allowed, he said.
Public firework displays are planned at People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium and at Sun Coast Casino.
Contact the metro police on 031 361 0000 with fireworks-related complaints. - The Mercury