Picture: City of Cape Town

Cape Town - Collectively, the City of Cape Town’s three law enforcement agencies arrested 737 suspects on a range of charges, including drunk driving and possession of drugs, during the festive season, according to mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services JP Smith.

"As the festive season starts winding down, I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to the city’s enforcement and rescue services. Staff have once again put their best foot forward to ensure public safety over the festive season," he said in a statement.

"The results of their efforts are indeed something to be proud of as the statistics show. It needs to be acknowledged that the terrible incident involving a private security company’s actions on Clifton Beach overshadowed much of the festive season news relating to Cape Town.

"It was an incident that harmed the goodwill and trust between people and undermined our efforts to achieve a non-racial South Africa. The city acted swiftly to deal with all transgressions and ensured that the public were not subjected to any further such incidents at the hands of private security, at Clifton or any other public area," he said.

"Having acknowledged that, we can perhaps also pause to thank the public, local and visitors alike, who worked with our emergency and policing staff to improve the safety of the festive season for all. The statistics show that we have seen reduced deaths on roads over this period, reduced drownings, more children registered at the Identikidz stalls at the beach and reduced fires and fire-related deaths. This is all cause for celebration meaning that more people started this new year on a positive note and not beset by tragedy.

"Thank you to the people of Cape Town, our visitors, and all the emergency and policing services of Cape Town, SAPS [South African Police Service], NSRI [National Sea Rescue Institute], SANParks [South African National Parks], and all the departments and agencies that made this possible," Smith said.

Cape Town traffic service arrested 5056 motorists for outstanding warrants under the auspices of operation reclaim. A further 12,700 warrants were served. Traffic officers also recorded just over 200,000 offences, the bulk of these being for speeding.

Picture: City of Cape Town

On the beaches and other public spaces, law enforcement staff confiscated 9968 bottles of alcohol, equating to nearly 6400 litres. This was a marginal increase year-on-year from 9458 bottles in the previous festive season, and was once again indicative of the fact that many people simply chose not to heed warnings about alcohol use in public.

"It is a massive logistical exercise, but an important one, because it means fewer people swimming while inebriated and potentially putting their lives in danger; less anti-social behaviour in our public spaces; and fewer motor vehicle accidents on our roads," he said.

The fire and rescue service responded to 2411 fire calls and 1126 special service calls, a slight increase in both categories year-on-year. There was also an increase in residential fires, but fewer structures were affected and the number of fatalities was lower.

The public emergency communication centre’s busiest shift was on new year’s eve when staff fielded 1049 calls, followed by Boxing Day when 962 calls were logged. For December, the centre fielded 41,209 calls – 77 percent of which were emergency calls.

"We are heading into the final push this weekend before schools reopen, so we expect beaches and other public attractions to be very busy once more. We are also mindful that many young people will be celebrating the release of the matric results. I caution the public to please exercise caution and to conduct themselves responsibly," Smith said.

Picture: City of Cape Town

Metro police stopped 4662 vehicles, with 4222 drivers tested for driving under the influence (DUI), 91 drunk driving arrests, 85 drug-related arrests, 80 general arrests, six dangerous weapons and nine rounds of ammunition confiscated, and two stolen vehicles recovered

Law enforcement officers made 35 arrests, issued 6932 traffic fines and confiscated 9968 bottles of alcohol confiscated, among other things.

The Cape Town traffic service made 311 arrests for drunk driving, 135 general arrests, 5056 warrant arrests, issued 202 128 fines, and served 12 700 warrants.

Cape Town fire and rescue service responded to 3537 calls - 435 residential fire calls, 1853 bush and grass fires, 866 trauma incidents, and eight fire fatalities.

African News Agency/ANA