Motion to outlaw big-bang fireworks in progress

By IAVAN PIJOOS

A new motion to ban big-bang fireworks will be tabled in parliament.

In 2018, well-known Cape Town attorney Michael Bagraim, who became a DA MP, put forward the motion in the National Assembly, but it was stopped after the IFP argued that the party had not consulted Hindu organisations.

Yvette Huysamer, of Rescue Rehab SA, had reached out to Bagraim with a 54-page submission.

She said her petition had garnered more than 250,000 signatures.

On Thursday, Bagraim said a new motion would be put forward once consultations with various religious organisations were concluded.

“We are still busy with discussions and consultations with various communities. It is a very sensitive issue.

“It is not the banning of fireworks; we are trying to outlaw percussions. Effectively, what we will do is allow fireworks but not the loud noise … because of the effect it has on the animal kingdom,” Bagraim said.

They wanted to approach the situation “carefully” and not step on any toes, he said.

“One has to be understanding of Diwali and the Chinese New Year, where both traditions encourage fireworks. One has to ensure that those celebrations continue and continue happily.

“Both communities seem to be in agreement that the percussion or loud bangs should not be accepted.”

The DA’s motion is supported by the SA Hindu Maha Sabha.

“The Maha Sabha has been calling for years for the banning of the big-bang fireworks and not fireworks completely. We fully support the motion,” said Ashwin Trikamjee, the organisation’s president.

Chairperson of the Chinese Association Gauteng Erwin Pon said he was not aware of the motion and could not immediately comment on it.

However, “fireworks are part of the Chinese culture, history, tradition, and we don’t welcome anything that infringes on our constitution to celebrate our culture, which we have practised for thousands of years”.

“We rather try to encourage our community to come to those organised display areas and they are not shot in their own back yards or in suburbs. They can rather come and enjoy it at those display areas and then everyone is happy.”

Pon said they were open to working with different organisations to understand and compromise to achieve “a win-win”.

“There is room for a common understanding and a compromise where neither side feels totally aggrieved around this thing.”

Huysamer said they had approached the economic sector to ask for its endorsement of the motion.

“We trust our government to make a responsible decision and look to a safer and kinder alternative for all. The call to ban big-bang fireworks is fast becoming a global trend.

“We will not be banning sparklers, Catherine wheels and whistling consumer fireworks.”

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