Fireworks Works is Prohibited in Certain Circumstances

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Use of fireworks prohibited in certain circumstances

30.​(1)​ Unless so authorised in terms of section 33, no person may use fireworks –

(a) Within 500 metres of any explosives factory, explosives storage place, petrol depot or petrol station; (d) inside any building; (c)​on any agricultural holding; (d)​at any public place; or (e)​at any school, old age home or hospital.

(2)​ No person may light or ignite fireworks in any place where animals are present.

(3)​ Unless so authorised in terms of section 33, no person may light or ignite fireworks on any day or at any time except –

(a)​New Years Eve from 23h00 to 01h00;

(b)​New Years Day from 19h00 to 22h00;

(e) Hindu New Year from 19h00 to 22h00;

(f) Lag b’omer from 19h00 to 22h00;

(g) Chinese New Year from 19h00 to 22h00;

(h) Human Rights Day from 19h00 to 22h00;

(i) Freedom Day from 19h00 to 22h00;

(j) Guy Fawkes Day from 19h00 to 22h00;

(k) Divali from 19h00 to 22h00;

(l) Christmas Eve from 19h00 to 22h00; and

(m) Day of Goodwill from 19h00 to 22h00.

4)​No person may allow any minor under his or her control to use, light or ignite fireworks in contravention of subsection (1), (2) or (3).


Fireworks displays prohibited unless authorised

31.​No person may present a fireworks display unless –

​(a)​authorised to do so by the Council as contemplated in section 33;

(b)​authorised to do so by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Chief Inspector of Explosives;

(c)​the display is at all times under that person’s supervision and control;

(d)​the Service and a suitably qualified explosives expert from the South African Police Services are at all times in attendance at the display;

(e)​that person has ensured that –

(i)​an area with a radius of at least 50 metres is clearly demarcated for the launching of fireworks at the display; and

(ii)​measures are in place to prevent any person who is not involved in the presentation of the display from entering this launching area; and

(f)​a pyrotechnist is at all times present and responsible for the use of fireworks at the display.

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Important Things to Know About Fireworks Laws in South Africa

  1. Fireworks may not be set off in any public place. This includes in parks, on the pavement or the streets. Do note, shopping malls, restaurants, liquor stores and clothing retailers are also off-limits.
  2. Fireworks may not be sold by street vendors, hawkers or at any informal open-air facilities.
  3. Anyone who wishes to sell fireworks must have a valid licence, which is issued by the chief inspector of the Department of Explosives.
  4. It is illegal to detonate fireworks within 200 metres of any hospital, clinic, petrol station, old-age home, nursing home, or animal welfare organisation or institution.
  5. No one under the age of 16 is allowed to purchase or set off fireworks.
  6. It is unlawful for any person to point or direct a firework at any other person, animal, building or motor vehicle.
  7. No person or organisation is allowed to present a fireworks display unless formally authorised to do so by the Council (at least 14 days’ notice). Authorisation is also required from the Civil Aviation Authority and the Chief Inspector of Explosives. What’s more, a pyrotechnician and SA Police Services explosives expert must be present at all times.
  8. Fireworks may only be set off in designated areas between 7 pm and 10 pm on Guy Fawkes.
  9. Failure to comply with any of the above could result in a hefty fine or even jail time.

Should you become aware of anyone not complying with the law, you can call the police and report them. And, if you are setting off fireworks, remember to be considerate and responsible.

Fireworks and the Law in South Africa

Regulating Fireworks

Fireworks are a common method to celebrate a new year, Diwali and less known celebrations such as guy fawkes day.  Fireworks displays can be beautiful to look at, however, there are certain regulations when it comes to the handling of fireworks.

The Explosives Act

Fireworks in South Africa are controlled in terms of the Explosives Act 15 of 2003 (Explosives Act). There are also specific by-laws that regulate the use or exploding of fireworks. Firework dealers need to be licensed in terms of the Explosives Act. Only individuals in possession of valid licences may deal in the sale of fireworks.

Municipal By-Laws

eThekwini Municipality takes the Explosives Act very seriously. There are strict Municipal Bylaws when it comes to the use of fireworks. The unlawful use fireworks could see residents face fines of up to R10,000 (Ten Thousand Rands). The municipal bylaw allows for fireworks to be set off from 11.45pm on December 31 until 00.15am in the new year. There are conditions that residents need to adhere to. 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 and pets.

Minors and handling fireworks

Minors are prohibited from handling explosives and this includes certain types of fireworks. Municipal bylaws also state that children under 16 years of age to be properly supervised by an adult when letting off fireworks.

Areas where fireworks should not be exploded

It is unlawful for any person to use or explode any firework within 500 metres of any building or any public thoroughfare. It is important to only buy legal fireworks and always check expiry dates on the fireworks. Fireworks should be detonated away from hospitals, clinics, old age/nursing homes, animal welfare organisations and petrol stations. Fireworks should not be pointed towards any person, as this is dangerous. Residents are also reminded that fireworks cannot be recycled and therefore they need to be disposed of appropriately, in black bin bags.

More on City By-Laws


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