From the news desk

All hands on deck for the Xmas long weekend

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With an increase in local and international holiday makers in Cape Town, authorities are bracing themselves for congestion at the Mother City’s roads and beaches over the long weekend. While Cape Town’s strong south easterly wind has kept visitor numbers down at beaches and swimming pools since the start of December, warmer weather is expected in the coming days and with the traditional Boxing Day beach trips around the corner, the City of Cape Town expects a spike in visitor numbers.

According to the City, the Metro Police, Law Enforcement and Traffic Services Departments will be deployed across the metropole, supported by agencies like the National Sea Rescue Institute, City and Lifesaving Western Province lifeguards, Disaster Risk Management, Recreation and Parks, among others, to ensure that this weekend and the remainder of the festive season is safe for all.

The consumption of alcohol on beaches and other public areas is forbidden and that anyone found in possession of alcohol will be fined and their goods will be confiscated. There have already been numerous reports and complaints of anti-social behaviour at Muizenberg and St James beaches and additional staff will be deployed to hot-spot areas to mitigate the risk.

A total of 4 314 bottles of alcohol has been confiscated since 1 December .

“‘We expect the alcohol confiscation numbers to spike in the days ahead as some people simply do not get the message. Earlier this week, someone paid just over R1 000 in fines and impoundment fees to have 82 beers, ciders and a bottle of spirits returned. This person was obviously testing the system, but I can assure the public that alcohol that is confiscated goes directly to our storage facility and there is a tagging system in place to keep track of everything. No one goes home with confiscated alcohol – it really just is about public safety and nothing more,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Beachgoers are also reminded to swim only in areas where lifeguards are present and to follow their instructions. There have been two drowning incidents since 1 December at Mnandi Beach where two victims, aged 12 and 15, lost their lives.

The Identikidz programme is also being run at various priority beaches around the city’s coastline and parents are urged to have their children tagged as soon as they arrive at the beach.

“Thus far, some of the concerning trends have included children arriving at the beach without adult supervision; parents switching off cellphones which means we can’t reach them in the event that their child disappears; and adults drinking and being unaware of their children’s whereabouts. We need everyone’s cooperation and support to make the Identikidz project a success; it can’t be left to the authorities alone. People need to take accountability for their actions,” added Smith.

In terms of Operation Exodus which draws to a close this weekend, 1 114 vehicles have thus far undergone roadworthy checks before departing on long-distance trips at the various public transport interchanges. Of these, 81% were cleared for travel. Buses accounted for just over half of all vehicles checked. The vehicle checkpoints set up as part of Operation Exodus have yielded 28 863 transgressions – the majority for speeding, but also 3 190 unlicensed drivers.


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