Durban - eThekwini metro police made thousands of rand in fines on Friday as dozens of motorists were caught parking illegally at the Durban Land, Sea, and Air festival.
Police have warned drivers to not be lazy on Saturday, and to park in proper bays, as they will be taking a stricter approach to deal with the expected throngs arriving for the final day of the festival.
Metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi said officers had their hands full on Friday, when thousands of people arrived at Durban’s North Beach to watch the festival being held off the coast.
“The majority of people are lazy, they want to park closest to the event and ended up parking wherever they want to,” said Msomi.
Drivers had parked their vehicles on the pavements of the lower Marine Parade.
Fines, of R100 each had been issued to drivers for parking illegally on the pavement.
Msomi maintained that people could have parked at the old Drive-in site and walked to the event.
Metro police instituted road closures at the lower Marine Parade as the area had become congested with vehicles.
Between 20 000 to 30 000 people were expected to attend each day.
One driver who was ticketed, Nazeem Satar said: “This event is not an everyday thing, so police shouldn’t be so hard on people, where else are we meant to park?”
Msomi warned drivers to arrive early on Saturday. “Because of the congestion that has happened, we will be closing off the roads early to avoid the same problem, so you must come early if you want to park nearby and in a proper bay, otherwise you will have to park at the old Drive-in site and walk,” he said.
Thousands of people descended on the beachfront on Friday to watch several types of aircraft in action, flying at speeds of up to 400km/h.
The South African Air Force Gripen fighter jet was a crowd favourite with its loud noise and quick moves. Equal favourites were the Silver Falcons and the Goodyear Eagles.
Saturday will be the last day of the event, and the highlight will be the finals of the Sky Grand Prix, in which five South African pilots will compete against international pilots for the title.
Justin Scott, spokesman for the festival, said people could bring their regular beach accessories such as camping chairs and snacks to watch the show.
The festival ends at 5pm with the prizegiving, however should the weather not play its part Saturday, the programme of events will be postponed to Sunday.
“Durban is receiving international exposure through international media and live streaming around the world. This is the biggest aviation show in the country,” he said.
eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo said he was happy that the logistics for the event went smoothly.
“This is a unique event in Durban and the first time it’s being held, so we are happy that things are going well,” he said, adding that the city would be in discussions to host the festival for at least another three years.