Diwali crackers all day

2015-12-22 11:59

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Pietermaritzburg - The South African Hindu Dharma Sabha has claimed a victory following the release of the new draft Explosives Bill, which provides for fireworks to be lit from 8 am to midnight on specific days.

The Sabha announced yesterday that it had “won the battle” for fireworks after receiving a letter from the Police minister which indicated that their suggestions were included in the draft act.

The final draft is expected to be released soon.

The letter from the minister states that fireworks may be used from 8 am to midnight on the two days of Diwali, the first day of the Chinese New Year and on New Year’s Eve.

It adds that the normal restrictions — no one is allowed to use fireworks within 500 metres of kennels, gas stations and public thoroughfares, and other regulations — remain in place.

However, Msunduzi Municipality’s acting spokesperson, Nqobile Madonda, said this was the first time they had been made aware of any new draft regulations surrounding the use of fireworks.

Madonda said the city would have to receive the information via the proper channels and study the letter sent by the minister. “We will also have to get our legal, fire and all other relevant departments involved if this is the case. We will have to investigate and study the letter,” she said.

Pietermaritzburg SPCA manager Alistair Sinclair said he was “absolutely disgusted” at hearing about the draft legislation.

“Clearly no thought has been put into this decision.

“No one has thought about the animals, the elderly and the ill who would have to endure this for so many hours,” he said.

The Sabha said in its press release that it was “a historical fact” that it had been successfully championing the cause of religio-culturally significant fireworks for Diwali for the past 30 years.

“The South African Hindu Dharma Sabha’s proposals were in compliance with internationally acceptable categorisations of fireworks as approved by the United Nations Organisation,” said its president, Ram Maharaj.

He said that all structures of the Sabha around the country and all Hindu organisations would be mobilised and empowered to make meaningful and effective representations as soon as arrangements are finalised for public hearings on the matter.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  diwali  |  fireworks

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