The New Year has arrived for South Africans – but without the expected fireworks in the City of Ekurhuleni, where a three-day celebration of the holiday was a show that went on without them.
The city originally promoted “the biggest New Year’s Eve fireworks display in South Africa,” to be held at a park in the community near Johannesburg, but the show was canceled after animal lovers went to court to prevent the display from disturbing both residential pets and wildlife living near the venue.
“The Kempton Park SPCA submitted an application to the High Court,” the SPCA said in a statement that announced the court’s ruling in their favor, thanking their supporters and urging citizens to “consider the consequences” as part of their “say no to fireworks” campaign.
For their part, the municipality said they ultimately did not approve a request from the event organizers for a fireworks extravaganza and would permit only a ground-level pyrotechnics display.
The alternative would keep the theatrical effects and sense of celebration, the City of Ekurhuleni said, while dialing down both the height of the display and the noise of New Year’s Eve. The pyrotechnics option keeps the sound below 90 decibels – for both people and pets – compared with at least 120 decibels for a full fireworks display.
“The City of Ekurhuleni shares the concerns of residents in the Kempton Park area regarding the use of fireworks,” the statement said, detailing the process that led them to their decision.