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Guy Fawkes and Cape Town’s ‘fireworks ban’: What you need to know

The City of Cape Town released a statement in October 2019 declaring the banning of fireworks for festivities this year.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith explained that Cape Town usually made exceptions for the discharge of fireworks for Guy Fawks, Diwali and New Year’s Eve, but decided that this year, no fireworks would be permitted.

According to reports, the decision stemmed from:

  • The decreased appetite from subcouncils to approve designated sites
  • The cost associated with running the sites, including deploying staff and resources, including Law Enforcement, Metro Police, Traffic and of course the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Growing public sentiment opposing the use of fireworks

What Cape Town’s ‘fireworks ban’ means for Guy Fawkes

Thereafter the decision, individuals from the Hindu community expressed their dissatisfaction about the impact it would have had on Diwali later that month.

Smith said that in the spirit of respecting the Hindu cultural tradition, the City had consulted with interested parties and decided to make the parking lot at the Athlone Stadium available for Diwali celebrations.

Smith then stressed that the City had not banned fireworks, as only national government had the power to do so.

Fireworks: What the Community Fire Safety by-law says

The Community Fire Safety by-law states that no one is allowed to operate a public fireworks display without getting prior permission and a permit from the chief fire officer or municipal manager.

“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,” said Smith.

“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,” said Smith.

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.

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