The annual festive lights switch-on event. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Police have launched an investigation into the deaths of two people after the festivities at the annual switching on of the festive lights at the weekend.

“One of these occurred in the early hours of Monday morning. Details around the second incident are still unclear as the person passed away in hospital yesterday,” said Safety and Security Mayco member JP Smith.

“An estimated 39 000 people attended the event on the Grand Parade on Sunday.

“The City established a Joint Operation Centre (JOC) at the venue to co-ordinate the functions of all security and emergency personnel deployed on the day. The JOC recorded no major incidents during the event.”

He said the City’s Safety and Security Directorate would meet relevant role-players soon to conduct a debriefing session around the festive lights’ switching on event.

The City’s JOC confiscated 407 bottles of alcohol while law enforcement staff confiscated a number of dangerous weapons including imitation firearms and knives.

“This is significantly lower than the alcohol haul at the previous event, which totalled 1818 bottles. The South African Police Service has indicated that 15 cases of robbery were registered at the Cape Town Central police station and that five arrests were made related to these cases.

“It is unfortunate, but the reality is that any large public access event is likely to attract a criminal element and we will probably never know the true extent of incidents like theft, as many people do not report the incidents,” Smith said.

The City would liaise with police around the progress of the investigations to “see what, if anything, could have been done to have prevented these tragic deaths”, he said.