Plan for tough new fireworks by-laws in PMB welcomed

2012-09-10 00:00

THE days of unregulated use of fireworks in Pietermaritzburg are coming to an end with the introduction of stringent rules and regulations restricting their use to just five days a year.

Advocate Ranjiv Nirghin, president of the Midlands Hindu Society (MHS), welcomed the new by-laws.

“We had made proposals in this regard and we feel that this will lead to the proper regulation of the use of fireworks in our city without ambiguity,” he said.

Nirghin said MHS also believed that this would lead to greater tolerance towards Hindus living in suburban areas as they would be using fireworks within the bylaws without fear of a hostile reaction from neighbours.

“We hope that this will lead to incident-free celebrations with all our citizens behaving within the law,” he added.

The new by-laws regulating the distribution and discharge of fireworks were approved by the Msunduzi Municipality’s executive committee (Exco) on Thursday.

The next step is for the by-laws to be approved by the full council and then published in the provincial gazette.

The new rules state that, unless otherwise authorised, nobody may set off fireworks on any day or at any time other than from 7 pm to 10 pm on the Hindu New Year, the Jewish festival of Lag B’Omer, on Guy Fawkes Day and at Diwali; and from 11 pm on New Year’s Eve to 1 am on New Year’s Day.

The use fireworks on any other day or for any other reasons would require permission from the municipality.

Nobody would be allowed to supply fireworks unless that person is in possession of a license awarded by the municipality.

A manufacturer or wholesale dealer would be allowed to supply fireworks only to a retail dealer who is in possession of a valid license in terms of the regulations.

The sale, distribution and storage of fireworks in or from a vehicle, trailer or temporary structure in a street would be forbidden.

Fireworks could be confiscated by a law enforcement officer, inspector or fire officer if anyone would be found to have violated any of the by-laws.

Anyone found contravening the city’s by-laws would be charged and would face the penalty prescribed by the law.

If a person is convicted, that person would be liable to pay the cost of repairing any damage resulting from the offence.

Pietermaritzburg SPCA spokesperson Maureen Vida welcomed the the prospect of stringent regulations saying she believed this was long overdue.

“Previously residents could use fireworks any time because they were unrestricted,” Vida said.

She said the SPCA hoped that the use of fireworks would be policed and monitored well.

“We hope the public will also familiarise themselves with the new by-laws so that they can assist both SPCA and police to report any contravention.

“At least we now have specific days and time in which to use fireworks which will be welcome by animal owners who will now know when to tranquillise their animals,” she added.

• thobani.ngqulunga

@witness.co.za

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