Do’s and (mostly) don’ts of fireworks

Do’s and (mostly) don’ts of fireworks

Do’s and (mostly) don’ts of fireworks

Every year, when it is too late for tears, the media reports on animal trauma and injuries to children caused by fireworks. Only by making the right choice now can we prevent these tragedies.

Safety first

The regulations on fireworks stipulate:

  • No person may light or ignite fireworks in any place where animals are present (R1000 fine). This includes domestic homes
  • No person may allow any minor (child) under his or her control to “use, light or ignite” fireworks (R1500 fine). There are no exceptions to this rule
  • No person may use fireworks on any agricultural holding or at any school or senior citizens’ residence without special authorisation (R1000 to R1500 fine). This authorisation must be sought well in advance of the intended day
  • No person can use fireworks within 500 metres of any explosives factory, explosives storage place, petrol depot or petrol station, inside any building, at any public place or at any school, old age home or hospital or within 1000 metres of any airport, without special authorisation (R1500 fine)
  • No person or organisation can “present a fireworks display” unless having formally applied (in writing) to the local city or town council. At least 14 days’ notice is required by the council to consider such an application and to allow members of the public to launch any objections. Authorisation is also required from the Civil Aviation Authority and the Chief Inspector of Explosives. (Multiple fines of R1500 are applicable).
  • Such a display (should permission be granted) may only take place at “suitable premises” designated by the council and a pyrotechnist and SA Police Services explosives expert must be present at all times (R1500 fines)
  • No person issued with a permit may use consumer fireworks after 23:00
  • No person may deal in fireworks (sell or make available) unless they hold a fireworks licence in terms of the Explosives Act as well as the written authority of the Chief Fire Officer (R1500 fine). The reign of terror which afflicts our large pet population when people indiscriminately (and often criminally) ignite noisy fireworks at all times of the day and night gets worse every year
  • No person may use any flame-emitting device, specifically Chinese lanterns and emergency flares.

Exceptions to the rule

Fireworks may be set off at certain cultural and religious celebrations such as Diwali, Chinese New Year, Human Rights Day, Guy Fawkes Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, Freedom Day, the Day of Goodwill, Lag b’omer but at designated times only namely between 7pm and 10pm. Setting them off outside these times carries a R500 fine except on New Year’s Eve when fireworks are allowed between 11pm and 1am.

It is absolutely crucial to not only know the laws concerning the use of fireworks but to also be aware of the by-laws of your specific municipality. Firm enforcement of the by-laws will assist in reducing the noise and panic levels and will create a safer environment for people and their pets.

City reminds residents to use designated fireworks zones only. 2014. Retrieved from:
Diwali and fireworks (According to the S.A. Law) 2014. Retrieved from:
Explosives Act: Draft Explosives Regulations Notice 433 of 2007). Retrieved from:
Guy Fawkes Day designated fireworks areas. 2014. Retrieved from:
Heed fireworks by-laws. Retrieved from:
Kempe, G. 2014. Every by-law in South Africa. Retrieved from:

(Revised by M van Os)