Fireworks crackdown

2010-12-31 00:00

A MAJOR crackdown on the illegal sale of fireworks in the city is in full force ahead of New Year’s celebrations tonight.

Over three-and-a-half tons of illegal fireworks have already been netted and those who continue to trade illegally have been warned they will face the full might of the law.

This is the general message from city law enforcers whose concentrated efforts to rid Pietermaritzbur­g of the illegitimate trading of firecrackers is already bearing fruit.

Captain Clarence Richard from the bomb squad said nobody is allowed to sell fireworks without a licence, which has to be approved by them and the fire department.

In addition, it is illegal to sell fireworks on the street and such sales can only take place inside a licensed dealer.

Richard said mop-up operations began on Tuesday in the CBD where one man was arrested for being in possession of fireworks amounting to one ton.

Another man was arrested in the CBD on Wednesday for stocking two-and-a-half tons of fireworks without a licence, he said.

All the fireworks were confiscated and Richard said they will continue to confiscate all illegal fireworks as part of their ongoing drive.

Illegal fireworks will not be their only focus.

Msunduzi fire and disaster management manager Bill Paton said his department has by-laws that focus on the regulation of fire precautions required for the storage of fireworks.

“We regulate compliance related to the maximum storage, display and related fire safety and protection requirements for premises storing fireworks,” he said.

South African Police Force spokesperson warrant officer Joey Jeevan confirmed an illegal fireworks clampdown, saying police will not tolerate illegal sales.

“We know that people want to enjoy the festive season, but at the same time we need to ensure people’s safety,” she said.

According to the Exposives Act, it is against the law to use fireworks:

• in any public resort or place, unless prior written permission from the authority has been given

• in any building or along any public thoroughfare or

• within 500 metres of an explosives factory, explosives magazine or petroleum depot

On top of that, hawkers and street vendors are forbidden to sell fireworks and people are not allowed to hawk them from their spaza shops, trailers or vehicles.

In terms of the Act, only licensed or wholesale traders granted a licence by a chief fireworks inspector can sell legally and those convicted for transgressing the laws will face financial penalties or a prison term.

• To report illegal trading of fireworks, contact Crime Stop on 086 001 0111.

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