SAPS urges cautious use of fireworks

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

With hours to go until New Year’s Eve celebrations get underway, the South African Police Service (SAPS) is urging the public to use firecrackers responsibly.

“The use or discharge of fireworks during the celebration of the New Year is one of the aspects which must be done cautiously and in compliance with the regulations to avoid injuries.

“As a result, the public is reminded that fireworks in South Africa are controlled in terms of the Explosives Act. Furthermore, various local authorities have specific by-laws that regulate the use or exploding of fireworks,” said North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone.

The police reiterated that only dealers that are licenced in terms of the Explosives Act, and who are in possession of valid licences issued by an inspector, may deal in the sale of fireworks. 

“No fireworks may be sold by a street hawker or vendor at a flea market, from the boot of a vehicle or trailer as this is in contravention of the Explosives Act, 1956,” said Brigadier Mokgwabone.

The police said it will be unlawful for any person to use or explode any firework:

  • Within 500 meters of any explosives magazine, explosives factory, petroleum depot or gasometer.
  • In any building or any public thoroughfare. 
  • In any other public place or resort, except with the prior written permission of the local authority.


Any person who by any act or omission commits a breach of any of the regulations, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding R600 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment. 

“The explosives that were used to commit the offence with, may be confiscated, in which case the cost of disposal thereof shall be borne by the accused.”

The police urged the public to apply the following fireworks safety tips:

  • Buy only legal fireworks and always check expiry dates
  • Always use fireworks outdoors
  • Do not hold lit fireworks in your hand
  • Have a hose or bucket of water nearby
  • Stand back from all fireworks once they are lit
  • Keep pets under control and away from fireworks
  • Always comply with instructions as directed on the fireworks
  • Children under the age of 16 years should always use or light fireworks under the supervision of parents
  • Never try to make your own fireworks
  • Always point fireworks away from persons, houses and flammable substances
  • Do not allow children to pick-up pieces of fireworks immediately - some may still be ignited and can explode at any time and cause serious injuries.