File picture: Xinhua/Zhang Liyun/IANS

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has urged members of the public to use firecrackers responsibly as the new year approaches.

"The use or discharge of fireworks during the celebration of the New Year is one of the aspects which must be done cautiously and in compliance with the regulations to avoid injuries.

“As a result, the public is reminded that fireworks in South Africa are controlled in terms of the Explosives Act. Furthermore, various local authorities have specific by-laws that regulate the use or exploding of fireworks,” said North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone.

The police said only dealers that are licenced in terms of the Explosives Act and individuals in possession of valid licences may deal in the sale of fireworks. Police added that no fireworks may be sold by street hawkers or vendors. 

Police reiterated it will be unlawful for any person to use or explode any firework within 500 metres of any building or any public thoroughfare.

"Any person who by any act or omission commits a breach of any of the regulations, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding R600 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment," said SAPS in a statement released on Tuesday.

Members of the public are urged to buy only legal fireworks and always check expiry dates. 

Safety tips:

  • Use fireworks outdoors
  • Do not hold lit fireworks in your hand
  • Have a hose or bucket of water nearby
  • Stand back from all fireworks once they are lit
  • Keep pets under control and away from fireworks
  • Always comply with instructions as directed on the fireworks
  • Children under the age of 16 years should always use or light fireworks under the supervision of parents
  • Never try to make your own fireworks
  • Always point fireworks away from persons, houses and flammable substances
  • Do not allow children to pick-up pieces of fireworks immediately - some may still be ignited and can explode at any time and cause serious injuries.

IOL