Clock ticking on fireworks displays

New Years Eve celebrations at the V and A Waterfront, in Cape Town. File Photo.
New Years Eve celebrations at the V and A Waterfront, in Cape Town. File Photo.
Luigi Bennett/Die Burger

With Guy Fawkes and Diwali just a few weeks away, the likelihood of any large legal fireworks displays being held in Cape Town is fizzling out.

In September, the City of Cape Town announced that persons wishing to host fireworks displays would be able to apply for a permit to do so in terms of the law. It further stated that any event where 200-plus attendees were expected, or that would require any infrastructure build, would also require an events permit from the municipality.

When People’s Post contacted the City last week to inquire whether any applications had been received or approved by the events department, Richard Bosman, executive director for safety and security, said none had been received.

That leaves very little time for interested parties considering that Guys Fawkes will be celebrated on Thursday 5 November and Diwali on Saturday 14 November.

Bosman says applications must be made via the police in Pinelands.

“Only thereafter can the applicant go to the Fire Safety section to schedule a site meeting (costs involved),” he says.

According to Bosman, the turnaround time for approval depends on a number of factors, including when the application was made. “If the police approves your application, you will need to contact the City’s fire and rescue service’s fire life safety section in the area you wish to hold the event.

“They will complete a site inspection, ensure there are no fire hazards and obtain permission from residents and businesses in the area,” he explains.

In accordance with the City’s events by-law, an application for an event must be submitted at least 15 working days before the date of the event.

“The turnaround time usually depends on a number of factors, including the event organiser supplying all required documents timeously,” Bosman adds.

Should any legal fireworks displays be approved within the next few weeks, it will have to adhere to all regulations as set out in the Disaster Management Act.

People’s Post contacted South African Hindu Maha Sabha (Sahms) last week, asking if they were planning to hold any firework displays in and around Cape Town. Sahms is the national body representing the cultural and religious aspirations of South Africa’s Hindu community.

Sahms stated they were currently engaged in discussions and would share their plans when they were ready.

As was the case last year, the City has stated that it will not provide any designated fireworks sites for Guy Fawkes, Diwali and New Year’s Eve this year.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith says the City’s decision not to do so is largely based on public sentiment and the high cost linked to hosting such events.

“There is growing public sentiment opposing the use of fireworks, and we have also seen a decreased appetite from subcouncils to approve designated sites. Add to that the cost of running the sites and making resources available to monitor activities and clean up the aftermath, a picture emerges of why the designated site allocation is not feasible,” says Smith, warning transgressors against illegally discharging fireworks.

  • To apply for a permit to host a firework display, email capetown.explosives.cmrd@saps.gov.za. Copy the head of the City’s fire and life safety section in the application – Ignatius.smart@capetown.gov.za.

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