KwaZulu-Natal - Stringent rules and regulations restricting the use of fireworks to five days a year and during specific hours are to take effect in Pietermaritzburg soon.
New by-laws regulating the distribution and discharge of fireworks were approved by the Msunduzi municipality’s executive committee on Thursday, without a single objection from councillors.
They will now have to be approved by the full council which meets at the end of this month and then published in the provincial gazette, both of which are considered to be mere formalities.
The news was welcomed by Pietermaritzburg SPCA spokeswoman Maureen Vida who said the previous by-laws were vague.
“It is wonderful news. Although we at the SPCA would like to see a total ban on the use of fireworks, at least now there are specific times and days in the year that they can be used which will let people with animals know that they need to take care of their pets during those times,” she said.
However, said Vida, the use of fireworks would have to be policed and monitored.
Also, people had to be made aware of the by-laws so that any contraventions could be reported.
According to the by-laws, unless otherwise authorised, nobody may set off fireworks on any day or at any time other than from 7pm to 10pm at the Hindu new year, the Jewish festival of Lag B’Omer, on Guy Fawkes Day and at Diwali, and from 11pm on New Year’s Eve to 1am on New Year’s Day.
Those wishing to use fireworks on any other days or for other reasons would require permission from the municipality.
The by-laws stipulate that nobody is allowed to supply fireworks unless that person is in possession of a licence granted by the municipality.
Also, a manufacturer or wholesale dealer is only allowed to supply fireworks to a retail dealer who is in possession of a valid licence in terms of the regulations.
The sale, distribution and storage of fireworks in or from a vehicle, trailer or temporary structure in a street is prohibited.
Any law enforcement officer, inspector or fire officer would also be able to seize fireworks being held in violation of these by-laws.
Anyone found contravening the city’s by-laws would be charged and would face the penalty prescribed by the law.
In addition, anyone convicted would be liable to pay the cost to repair any damage caused, or the costs incurred in remedying any damage resulting from the offence. - The Mercury