Six tonnes of fireworks confiscated

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pretoria - Over six tonnes of fireworks were confiscated during two separate raids by the Tshwane Metro Police this week.

Four tonnes of fireworks with an estimated street value of around R500 000 were confiscated during a raid at a wholesale store in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria.

During the operation, which took over four hours to complete, fireworks were found in a storeroom, while others were hidden between cooking oil boxes and underneath napkin packets.

It was found that the wholesale store was in violation of the certificate that the owners had stating that the fireworks must be displayed in a designated place inside the shop, and that they could not exceed 500 kilograms.

The shop owners were fined R7500 on the spot for illegal possession of fireworks by way of violating the conditions of their certificate while their certificate was withdrawn.

In the second operation, fireworks were confiscated at a warehouse in Marabastad, near the Belle Ombre train station after metro police dressed in civilian clothes spotted and followed a panel van carrying fireworks.

An estimated three tonnes of fireworks were found in the warehouse and the owner was found to have no license to stock or sell fireworks. The owner was fined R5000.

Spokesperson Console Tleane said since the beginning of the raids on 14 December, 79 sites had been inspected.

"Thirty one were compliant; fifteen opted to no longer deal in fireworks; eight await approval; three licenses were revoked; and, twelve were found to not be complying with the regulations," he explained.

Certain types of firework can only be used by qualified pyrotechnic experts and sometimes businesses try and sell these fireworks to the unsuspecting public. Those wanting to sell fireworks must apply for a licence at the South African Police Service's Explosives Unit after which the application is considered by the Fire Brigade Services.

Businesses found selling fireworks without a certificate of registration will receive a R2500 spot fine with an additional fine for any other fire safety violations found.