The City of Cape Town has said that media reports have missed the mark regarding the setting off of fireworks. Picture: Willem Law/African News Agency (ANA) Archives.

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has said that media reports have missed the mark regarding the setting off of fireworks.

Previously, The City of Cape Town announced that they will not have designated sites this year for Diwali, Guy Fawkes and New Year’s Eve.

They further indicated that while there have for years been calls to ban fireworks outright, the City does not have the power to do so.

"That this translated into a ‘ban’ on fireworks is disappointing, but not surprising," said JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

"While many have welcomed the decision to not have the designated sites, individuals within the Hindu community have expressed their dissatisfaction about the impact this will have on Diwali. The fact is that organised fireworks displays can still be applied for, because the City has not imposed a ban on fireworks – we have simply decided not to have designated City sites this year.

In respect of the issue in general, the City would like to set the record straight:

  • The City’s decision to forego designated fireworks sites does not mean the City has banned fireworks
  • The City is not OBLIGATED to provide designated fireworks sites. The Community Fire Safety By-law states that ‘A controlling authority MAY set aside municipal land for the purpose of the letting off of fireworks by the public, subject to such conditions as may be determined by the controlling authority and indicated by a notice at the site’
  • The Community Fire Safety By-law, read in conjunction with the Explosives Act, permit applications for public fireworks displays
  • Any person who wishes to have a fireworks display can apply for said permit, subject to the provisions of the aforementioned legislation
  • The Explosives Act is very strict about the importing and use of fireworks
  • However, we have a problem with illegal fireworks imports, sale and detonation, particularly in Cape Town between October and January annually
  • As indicated, the City CANNOT ban fireworks outright. Only national government has the power to do this.

"We remind residents that, in terms of Section 30 of the Explosives Act of 1956, the use or detonation of any fireworks in any building and public thoroughfare is liable to a R200 fine; selling fireworks to a child or anyone under the age of 16 is liable to a R300 fine; allowing a child or person under the age of 16 to handle fireworks without adult supervision is liable to a R300 fine," Smith said.

Members of the public with information relating to the illegal sale or use of fireworks should report this to the City’s Public Emergency Call Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or to the South African Police Service on 10111.

Cape Argus