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Fireworks and Festivals

As the South African festive season draws near, the public areonce again urged to practice caution when using fireworks. For over a millennium in South Africa, fireworks and their use have been synonymous with festive spirit and this year will likely notbe any different. Set to kickstart on October 24 with Diwali (The Hindu celebration of light), followed by Guy Fawkes Night (Commemorating the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605), the public must therefore be mindful of the rules and practices surrounding fireworks during this eventful festive season. 


 Fireworks are regulated in terms of Section 30 of the Explosives Act of 1956. Improper use of fireworks is punishable by a fine and in more serious cases prosecution. Thus, it is imperative that the public are aware of what they are allowed to do and what they are prohibited from doing. 


During the calendar year, the South African public are only allowed to set off fireworks on 11 specifically designated days. The lighting of fireworks outside of the designated days will result in a fine, and with the exception of New Year’s Eve, all fireworks must only be set off from 7pm until 10pm. Failure to adhere to the given timeframe will also result in a fine. 


Minors are to only light fireworks under the supervision of an adult. While persons under the age of 16 are prohibited from purchasing any fireworks, consumers are urged to be mindful of where they are buying their fireworks from. Like a liquor license, stores that sell fireworks may only do so provided they have the correct license, and consumers must only purchase fireworks from accredited vendors or stores. The buying and selling of fireworks illegally may lead to criminal charges or at the very least, a fine. 

 Fireworks cannot be detonated within 200m of a hospital, clinic, petrol station, nursing home, old age home, or animal welfare organisation. In domestic households which have pets, fireworks are also prohibited from being lit under any circumstances. 


Therefore, all civilians must remember the laws pertaining to the use of fireworks. One should be mindful and respectful of these regulations to ensure everyone enjoys a safe and pleasurable festive season.  


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