Boom in fireworks sales, despite battling rand

2008-10-26 00:00

THE battling rand has not stopped people burning thousands of rands on fireworks as the Hindu community prepares for Diwali, the festival of lights.

Though traders said that the Monday before Diwali is usually the busiest day, by Saturday they said they were doing very well.

Speaking to The Witness, Hillary Rajah of Moosa’s Fireworks said they were very busy, with sparklers, sky rockets and boxed assortments being the most popular. “People are burning millions. I never expected it to be so busy, but as you can see we are. Our prices range from R18 up to R600 for boxes,” he said.

Rajah said they don’t stock illegal fireworks, but he feels it is unnecessary to ban big bangers. “They could certainly make an exception. It [Diwali] is not something that happens every day. We comply with the law … but a lot of people … put pressure on us for it.”

Ayub Khan, owner of Joe’s Fireworks in Raisethorpe, said they sell a range of fireworks, but their policy has always been clear: not to sell to children, even if their parents are in the car.

“We are one of the older traders in Pietermaritzburg and we are quite strict about that. We have to comply with the law and we understand that the inspectors have to come to do their inspections,” said Khan.

Razvi Cassim, the manager of Gift Ideas and Sing Ideas, said people are moving away from loud crackers and looking for something reasonable.

He said prices on imports have gone up by 47% in a year and had the imports been bought now, people would be paying as much as 80% more.

Cassim said they stopped stocking big bangers five years ago, as they believe consideration should be given to animals.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said that the chief of explosives in Pretoria has stopped imports of fireworks that produce loud bangs. But, he added, they are still being brought in from Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

However, the big bangs had not been banned, he said.

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