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Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) has called on residents to comply with the City's fireworks by-laws and exercise restraint when they celebrate Guy Fawkes Day on Thursday, 5 November and Diwali on Tuesday, 10 November.

Diwali fireworks display
Diwali fireworks display at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Mayfair, Johannesburg. (Photo: Swaminarayan Hindu Mission Southern Africa)

EMS Spokesperson Nana Radebe says fireworks can only be set off between 7pm and 10pm on both Guy Fawkes Day and Diwali. Anyone who does not abide by the by-law faces a R500 fine. Radebe says residents also need to be mindful of children and pets.

"No one under the age of 16 is allowed to handle or use fireworks, except when they are under the supervision of an adult," Radebe cautions.

"You cannot use fireworks within 500m of any explosives factory, explosives storage place, petrol depot, petrol station, inside any building and at any public place, including schools, old age homes and hospitals."

Residents are urged to:

  • Pick a site appropriate for lighting crackers;
  • Keep animals indoors, with the curtains closed and the TV or radio switched on to distract them;
  • Check the wind direction before starting the display;
  • Keep the fireworks out of children's reach; and
  • Pick up all the remains of the fireworks after the display.

Fireworks should be handled by adults and children should watch the display from a distance. To stage a fireworks display, residents need written permission from the Fireworks Working Committee or Chief Fire Officer in their region.

But permission is not needed for days of cultural and religious celebrations, including Diwali, Chinese New Year, Human Rights Day, Guy Fawkes Day, Christmas Eve and the Day of Goodwill. But the fireworks could only be set off at stipulated times.

In case of an emergency, residents are urged to call (011) 375-5911 or 10111.

Diwali is a Hindu "festival of lights" celebrated in summer in South Africa.

Guy Fawkes and his Catholic conspirators plotted to blow up the British Houses of Parliament and assassinate King James I on 5 November 1605. Their plot was, however, uncovered and they were hanged on 31 January the following year.