Appeal to Durbanites: Light a candle, not fireworks this New Year's Eve

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  • The eThekwini Municipality has appealed to the public to hold peaceful New Year's celebrations.
  • Residents have been asked to rather light a candle and not fireworks.
  • In the event that members of the public discharge fireworks, they should do so in line with by-laws.

The eThekwini Municipality in Durban has appealed to the public to hold peaceful New Year's Eve celebrations and to adhere to by-laws when discharging fireworks.

Durban Metro Police Department spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad urged residents to distance themselves from the discharging of fireworks to celebrate the New Year and, instead, light a candle, as suggested by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"We urge residents to hold peaceful celebrations to bring in 2021 by lighting a candle in their homes as a tribute to those lives lost as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic, and to also acknowledge the contribution by frontline workers," Sewpersad said.

Sewpersad added that if members of the public are planning to light fireworks, they must do so in a responsible manner, taking into consideration the health and safety of pets.

Keep pets safe

"Pets must be kept away from the fireworks and must have an identification tag with the details of the owner, including their home address and contact number.

"Fireworks are allowed only on New Year's Eve, from 23:45 to 00:15. By-laws are in place that govern the lighting of fireworks and fines will be issued if anyone is caught contravening it.

"Fireworks must be restricted to a person's property and not be lit on a public road.

"Residents could face fines of up to R3 500 as the admission of guilt fine for discharging fireworks on the road is R1 000, and the fine for discharging of fireworks in public is R2 500," Sewpersad warned.

According to the by-laws:
  • Low-hazard fireworks such as fountains, lawn lights and sparkles can be lit in private homes.
  • Fireworks such as air bombs, supersonic bangs, sound shells, fountain whistles and screeches are prohibited as they cause a disturbance and are a nuisance to neighbours.
  • The by-law also stipulates that children under 16 years of age should be properly supervised by an adult when letting off fireworks.
  • Fireworks should be detonated away from hospitals, clinics, old age/nursing homes, animal welfare and petrol stations. Fireworks should not be pointed towards any person as this is dangerous.
  • No person shall ignite, discharge or explode any fireworks on any public road, residence or private dwelling without the knowledge and consent of the occupant or owner of the property.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to point or direct a firework at any person, animal, building or motor vehicle where such firework is in the process of exploding or detonating.
  • No person shall light or detonate fireworks in any place where animals are kept.
  • No person may terrify, cause stress or endanger the life of any animal with fireworks or by any other means.
  • Residents are also reminded that fireworks cannot be recycled and therefore they need to be disposed appropriately, in black bin bags.
  • The municipality urges residents not to dispose fireworks in orange refuse bags as this is deemed unsafe since fireworks cannot be recycled.

Sewpersad said the Durban Metro Police Department has been inundated with calls and complaints about some residents of Queensburgh discharging fireworks on a public roadway.

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"We have the full support of the National Prosecuting Authority in bringing such culprits to book. They will face the full might of the law. This applies to residents in all areas of the City as well."

- Compiled by Alex Mitchley


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