South Africans express mixed views on use of fireworks on New Years Eve

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There are mixed views about the use of fireworks to welcome in the new year with the country now under lockdown level 3.  While some say they will light a candle in memory of those who died of COVID-19 as suggested by the President others are adamant they will usher in the new year the way they’ve been doing all along – by discharging fireworks.

The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) has called on the public to be considerate of animals when setting off fireworks. A person was shown on a social media video inserting a firecracker into a live chicken before setting it alight.

Fireworks have become a traditional way of ushering in the new year. However, with the country under lockdown level 3, people will be forced to do things differently this time around. President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced this week that indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited until the 15th of January.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announces Level 3 lockdown regulations:

However, people have expressed mixed views about welcoming in the new year.

“As the President said I think I’m going to go with the candles because is a safer way.”

“Ushering to the new year I will be lighting fireworks.”

“It’s very hard because usually, we are out there lighting fireworks and alcohol so things have changed now and we must accept. This December has been very hard for me so I’ll just stay at home.”

Some businesses are already feeling the pinch with the country now under lockdown level 3. Business owner, King Pon says his fireworks sales business has not been doing well – for the first time in as many years.

He says fireworks sales are down.

“We are probably doing 10% of what we normally do. Normally I would have queues from 7 o clock in the morning. Today we hardly have any queues as you can see I have a hand full of my one hand. That is the number of people I have. It is very very bad for the fireworks industry. It is very bad.”

Discharging fireworks

The use of fireworks has its own challenges.  Already, the NSPCA is investigating a case where a person put a firecracker into a live chicken and set it alight.

NSPCA spokesperson Keshvi Nair is pleading with the public to discharge fireworks in a responsible manner and to be considerate to animals.

“When it comes to fireworks people make the mistake of thinking that it just affects domestic animals. Fireworks doesn’t just affect cats and dogs, it affects all animals. This specific case that we got about a video that was being circulated on Facebook. A gentleman has inserted a firework into a chicken this is now extreme cruelty.”

The City of Johannesburg’s law enforcement agencies says they will continue to raid outlets that are illegally selling fireworks. The City’s mayoral spokesperson, Mlimandlela Ndamase.

“The City of Johannesburg urges the residents of the city to desist from detonating fireworks over new year’s eve. Not only because we are under level 3 in terms of the lockdown. As we know these fireworks normally attract many of our residents into the streets and public areas where they are detonated and displayed. We condemn any behaviour that will endanger the lives of our residents.”

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