City of Cape Town warns residents: Fireworks without a permit are illegal

Image: Ramireddy Dinne

Last week, the Animal Welfare Society of South Africa pleaded with residents to refrain from firework celebrations on Guy Fawkes (November 5) to avoid cruelty to animals. Now, the City of Cape Town is also reminding residents that the use of fireworks in a residential area without a permit is illegal and anyone using them will be fined.

For the second consecutive year, The City of Cape Town has decided not to provide designated fireworks sites for Guy Fawkes, Diwali and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“As we indicated last year, the public will need to apply for a permit for a fireworks display as we no longer provide designated sites. There is growing public sentiment opposing the use of fireworks, and we have also seen a decreased appetite from sub-councils to approve designated sites,” explained the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith

Read More | AWS appeal to the public to cease Guy Fawkes fireworks to avoid cruelty to animals

“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. Furthermore, the designated sites have done little to deter the illegal discharge of fireworks in residential areas, which is an ongoing problem.”

“The City reminds residents that there are no designated fireworks sites for Guy Fawkes and that, in terms of Section 30 of the Explosives Act of 1956, the use or detonation of any fireworks in any building and public thoroughfare is liable to a fine and selling fireworks to a child or anyone under the age of 16 will also be liable.”

The public are encouraged to report any information regarding the sale or use of fireworks to The City of Cape Town on their Public Emergency Call Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cell phone or to the South African Police Service on 10111.

Animals and Fireworks

Animal Welfare Society of South Africa’s head of communications Allan Perrins said that in the past the organisation has experienced exponential increases in the number of stray animals over the Guy Fawkes period, with most admitted without identification. He said many suffered acute anxiety and stress, and in their bid to flee the perceived or, in many cases, real danger, ended up injuring themselves, some fatally.

Civil society activist Nikki Botha said: “To them, it’s like being trapped in a war zone with no way out. Animals exposed to the noise and environmental pollution of fireworks are adversely affected to the point where it often causes death.”

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“They have no way of understanding there is no need to panic, that it’s just a form of human entertainment. To them, it’s the advent of the Apocalypse.”

But it’s not just animals who suffer the brunt of fireworks, people with dementia and PTSD experience fireworks in a traumatic space. Perrins appealed to pet owners to identify their pet(s) with a microchip or a safe collar and tag.”

Below are some tips for keeping pets safe in the event that fireworks are let off:

  • Ensure all animals have identification – sudden loud bangs can cause pet(s) to run away and get lost. Remember their hearing is far more acute than ours – i.e. they can hear a grasshopper eating.
  • If possible, stay at home with them if you suspect fireworks will be used nearby.
  • If you can’t be at home, keep your pet(s) inside and preferably in a room that is safe and secure.
  • Try and mask any noise by drawing the curtains and playing calming music at a reasonable volume.
  • Put familiar and comforting things around them such as toys, baskets, etc.
  • Give your pet(s) a nutritious and balanced meal at night – this is likely to make them sleepier.

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