Holidaymakers and beachgoers who descended on the city’s beaches for New Year’s Day celebrations yesterday got a surprise visit from Cele and provincial police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula.
Cele’s walkabout included visits to Somerset Mall, Monwabisi, Muizenberg, Camps Bay and Clifton beaches, where he interacted with the public as part of police’s Safer Festive Season operations.
“I am satisfied with security measures placed around Cape Town beaches over the holidays. However, we’re disappointed that we didn’t see children with tags, and some children visiting and playing at the beaches without adult supervision.
"Trust me, tags help a lot. We have seen this in Durban so we will have to speak to the city. Another concerning trend is teenagers drinking and swimming,” he said.
On road accidents, it was not just drinking and driving that was a huge problem, Cele said, but drivers misbehaving on the road, overtaking others when it was unsafe, and driver fatigue.
Commenting on the controversy and protests surrounding Clifton, after private security allegedly evicted beachgoers, Cele said police and other agencies were investigating and taking the reports seriously.
Last week, protesters occupied the beach where a sheep was slaughtered in a ritual to “cleanse” the beach of evil spirits and end racism.
“We had to come here and check if the problem is still ongoing,” Cele said. “We call on people to live together in peace. No one has the right to remove people on the beach or hire people to harass other people in a public space.”
Beachgoers have commended the Police Ministry for a strong police presence. Shumaina Adams from Sherwood Park in Manenberg said: “This is our first time at Clifton beach and we felt safe as there was police visibility and life guards. I came with my family and enjoyed every moment.”
However another beachgoer, who did not want to be named, was not satisfied with police visibility as she claimed there were people drinking on the beach and drunk drivers on the roads. “I think more can be done to ensure public safety,” she said.