By Tauhierah Salie
As the festive season makes its appearance alongside fears of a second covid-19 wave in South Africa, the City of Cape Town launched its Safer festive Season campaign in Phillipi at the weekend. A particular focus will be placed on Covid-19 compliance and roadblocks, to ensure drunk drivers are kept off the roads.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast show on Monday morning, the City’s Safety and security directorate head Alderman JP Smith explained that operations will not be much different to previous years. The overtime budget has also been extended to “allow more officials to be deployed for longer hours.”
“This is something we cannot sustain the whole year, but we can do for short periods. We will do the normal vehicle checkpoints, lifeguards at beaches have already started and we will do the normal range of activities with law enforcements (at) recreation spots and swimming pools.”
Smith explained that the Tourism Unit will allow domestic and foreign visitors to occupy tourist hotspots safely, which will bring relief to the sector badly hit by the pandemic.
The limit to outdoor events, to 500 people, will also see an increase enforcement. Smith reminded citizens that compliance to health and safety protocols is for the benefit of the public.
“(It) means the population certificate at your swimming pools is reduced- you can’t have a swimming pool as full as you normally do. Obviously with beaches without access control, its much harder. We will just have to focus as best we can on social distancing and implore people to help us.”
“If we are not careful, we will end up with this second wave and have government impose more regulations and take us back. Our economy can’t survive that,” he said.
Smith further noted that South Africa is not ‘’a nation with spontaneous levels of compliance.’’
“On one level it makes its easier because (mass) activities are restricted so there’s less to police. On the other hand, you have to enforce the regulations because people don’t spontaneously abide by them.”
“When government makes laws, it signals the beginning of a challenge to see how best those be subverted. That means we must enforce these regulations, even if you don’t agree with it or think them (to be) excessive,” said Smith.
He added that organisers of major events have accepted that they will not be able to host mass events this year. Most, he said, are playing it safe by leaning toward hosting their events in June as opposed to March, dependent on the country’s Covid-19 status.
Smith also confirmed that the Cape Town Lights festival and highly anticipated Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebrations have already been put on hold.
Earlier this month, Safety and security executive director Richard Bosman also emphasised the need for vigilance at beaches, which usually sees increased visitors in December. Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato emphasised the importance of citizens holding each other accountable and urged them to report any violations to officials immediately.