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Toni V Brockhoven
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Fireworks must fizzle out

06 November 2018, 12:42

I'll not bore you with the facts of injuries and death to human and non-human alike which happens annually, of the pollution left behind on beaches and in other areas which decent citizens clean up afterwards, and of the animals who are lost, running in terror from the noise. 

We, a great many organisations and members of civil society representing many thousands, have respectfully requested that the City of Cape Town immediately within its jurisdiction, prohibit the production, sale, purchase and use of fireworks. We had asked that they halt the issue of any further permits requested/applied for in terms of the above and revoke permits issued for future events from the date of a letter sent dated 21 October 2018. To date, the courtesy of a response has not been forthcoming.

In the alternative to the above requests, we requested that the City of Cape Town require and promulgate the necessary regulations/policies that only “silent” fireworks be produced, sold, purchased or used, by professionals, and for City organised events only.  In other words, (in particular) percussive fireworks to be  prohibited for sale and use by the public at large.

Our rationale is simple; there is nothing of benefit to be found in fireworks except the brief entertainment factor which can, when all is said and done, be found in other manners, including but not limited to, spectacular light and laser shows.  Fireworks have a proven detrimental impact on animals, both domestic and wild, on land, in air and sea. Furthermore, they have a proven detrimental impact on the environment and human health, are arguably in contravention of/conflict with the provisions of other certain legislation and public opinion demands a ban!

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Section 24 states that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing, and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation, amongst other things.

We also point out that trying to enforce the current provisions allowing for fireworks and ensuring that people setting these off have the necessary permissions and permits put additional pressure on the South African Police Services, already overburdened and under-resourced. As local government representing the interests of the people, as well as bound to protect the environment and those within their jurisdiction, we’d like to know why the City of Cape Town has chosen to ignore the ever growing numbers of the voting public demanding an end to fireworks.

Toni Brockhoven

On behalf of Beauty Without Cruelty and 23 other local organisations (available upon request) 

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