Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has cautioned the public about the predicted hot weather conditions that are likely to hit the province in the next two days, sparking a surge of visitors to the City's beaches.
The City of Cape Town said it’s Safety and Security Directorate staff will maintain high levels of visibility at beaches and other public areas for the next few weeks until the school holidays wind down.
"Many people are still on holiday and I think they’ll want to make the most of any good weather, considering that both the peak festive season weekends didn’t offer the greatest weather conditions," said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith.
Smith indicated that popular beaches were largely quiet on New Year’s day compared with previous years, with an estimated 30 000 people on Muizenberg, 12 000 at Strandfontein Pavilion, 8 000 at Strand and just 3 000 at Monwabisi.
Between 1 December 2017 and 1 January 2018, 10 drownings were recorded, compared to seven during the previous festive season.
Three of the incidents happened at Mnandi, four at Strand and one each at Soetwater, Monwabisi and Muizenberg. There were also two false alarms at Strand and Melkbosstrand.
"The number of drownings are disappointing because we work really hard to ensure a safe environment for visitors to our beaches and other public attractions. This year we had extra lifeguards deployed, but it’s of little consequence if bathers venture outside the designated bathing areas or disregard the instructions of lifeguards. We will look at each incident to see what the exact circumstances were and how we can improve our beach safety strategy in future," he said.
"In terms of alcohol confiscations, the final totals are not yet available as checking in alcohol is a time-consuming process that requires numerous checks and balances. As at 13:00 today, there were just over 7 000 bottles of alcohol in the City pound, totalling nearly 5 000 litres."
Smith added that a total of 47 children were reported lost, but were reunited with their families. One other was handed over to a social worker from the Western Cape Department of Social Development at Big Bay on New Year’s Eve. "The Identikidz programme was implemented on various priority beaches, with just under 29 000 children tagged over the New Year long weekend."
On the roads, Cape Town Traffic Services screened 17 070 motorists for alcohol and issued 269 609 written notices during the month of December. They arrested 1,441 suspects, including 588 for driving while intoxicated, 449 for outstanding warrants and 151 for reckless and negligent driving. Officers also impounded 501 cellphones.
"We ramped up our enforcement efforts in recent weeks, but as many motorists will have learnt by now, we do rigorous checks for drunk driving and other serious transgressions on a regular basis. To those who put their own safety and the safety of others first this festive season, we thank you and ask that this be the approach all year round," Smith said.
African News Agency/ANA