Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – There has been a mixed reaction from the public to the City's decision to forego designated sites to discharge fireworks.

The City's Mayco member for safety JP Smith at the weekend announced there would be no fireworks discharge sites, as in previous years for Diwali, Guy Fawkes and New Year's Eve celebrations.

Athlone CPF chairperson Aziza Kannemeyer said the Athlone Stadium, a former discharge site, attracted thousands of people annually on Guy Fawkes.

“Families would come out and discharge their fireworks in a controlled environment. This was usually well managed with all the necessary services present.

"The ban of this venue means that everyone will do it in the area, which is dangerous if not properly supervised, and it will be hell for the animals.”

Kannemeyer said she was doubtful that the City would have enough resources to attend to complaints.

“The biggest sellers of fireworks are in Gatesville. But they're being sold at the spaza shops in our communities to small children.

“Most people would prefer that the day is banned and the sale of fireworks is prohibited in its entirety, but it's unrealistic if it cannot be enforced.

“Until then, the designated areas under the watchful eyes of the necessary law enforcement and emergency services seem like the better option.”

Table View resident Anthony Bantich said the “majority of residents welcomed this decision”.

“People come to the beaches or visit these sites and set off fireworks all willy-nilly with no real control, which left people injured and animals traumatised as well. 

"With the power of fireworks nowadays, they shouldn't be readily available to vendors if they are not properly licensed. 

"I would feel more comfortable if a company, who knows what they are doing staged a big display in a controlled and safe environment not endangering animals or injuring people.”

Bishop Lavis CPF chairperson Graham Lindhorst said: “We definitely welcome the decision to not have any firework discharge sites, as this comes with its own set of troubles in our community. 

"During Guy Fawkes time we experience a lot more shootings and it becomes difficult to distinguish between gunfire and fireworks.

“We do not know of any shops selling fireworks yet, but as it gets to November, we will monitor this and get the community involved to report the sales of fireworks.”

Smith said the discharging of fireworks was not allowed in terms of the Community Fire Safety By-law, but the City had, for a number of years, made an exception to accommodate the practice.

“As we have indicated before, only national government has the legislative competency to ban the import, production and sale of fireworks or restrict usage by age. 

"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.”

To report the illegal sale or discharge of fireworks, contact the City's public emergency call centre on 107 from a landline or 0214807700 from a cellphone or to the SAPS on 10111.

Cape Times