Revellers can expect roadblocks around the province from today - as traffic authorities vow to clamp down on drunk driving and curfew breakers over the New Year weekend.
And letting off ’big bang’ fireworks after regulated hours will also see officers pouncing with some hefty fines.
This warning comes as police and traffic officers gear up for a busy weekend in KwaZulu-Natal, with wet weather expected on New Year’s Eve, which inevitably also results in more accidents on the road.
Thuba Vilane, media spokesperson for KZN MEC Department of Transport, Community Safety Peggy Nkonyeni, said: “We have already had some massive operations over the festive season and we are still going to have major roadblocks around the province, we are going to close the province down on the 30 and 31 December.”
“Statistics show most accidents happen at night between 6pm and midnight, mainly caused by drunk driving,” he said.
Vilane said that while they would also be targeting criminal activity with stop and search operations, the public must also adhere to the midnight curfew.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned that as the festive season got underway, there will be no dancing or singing after the clock strikes midnight.
“There is no gqom after midnight. When you go around and hear noise, gqom and people singing, you get there and remind them the time has come to close down those things.
“The law says nobody moves, nobody drinks, nobody gets drunk after midnight,” Cele said.
Durban Metro Police media spokesperson, Superintendent Zama Dlamini, confirmed there would be roadblocks coming in and out of Durban during the weekend ahead and warned party-goers not to take alcohol to the beach, as it would be confiscated.
She said traffic authorities would be working closely with SAPS units.
“There will be police officers patrolling all areas, including townships,” she said, also highlighting that fireworks regulations only allowed for fireworks to be set off between 23.45pm and 00.15am.
Residents can face fines up to R3500 as an admission of guilt, while discharging fireworks on the road faces a penalty of R1000, and R2500 for being discharged in a public space.
Dlamini said these regulations were put in place to help protect children and animals.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela also asked residents to use fireworks responsibly on New Year’s Eve and “to be mindful of the impact fireworks have on animals”.
He confirmed that fines would be issued to anyone in contravention of the regulations.
The use of low hazard fireworks such as fountains, lawn lights and sparkles are allowed in private homes, but air bombs, supersonic bangs, sound shells, fountain whistles and screeches are prohibited as they are deemed to cause a nuisance to neighbours.
Mayisela said that according to the city by-laws, fireworks must be restricted to private property and may not be lit on a public road.
For emergencies, contact eThekwini Municipality on: 031 361 0000
Independent on Saturday