Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town will once again ramp up deployment levels at beaches, party spots, and at a myriad of events over the next week as the festive season winds down, the city said on Sunday.

"With a host of events on the cards in the coming days, good beach conditions, and the end of school holidays in sight, the city’s enforcement, emergency, and related services staff are on high alert and pulling extra hours where needed to ensure public safety," mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said.

Some of the key priority areas/events over the next week were the Cape Malay Choir Board road march on Sunday 30 December; New Year’s Eve festivities; a focus on beaches for New Year’s Day until the end of the school holidays; and the Tweede Nuwejaar road march.

"The weather that is forecast for the next week or so until the school year starts looks very favourable, so we expect the beaches and the roads to be extremely busy, even after New Year’s Day. The annual minstrel event also draws huge crowds.

"I know that there is much excitement around seeing in the New Year as well as locals and holidaymakers enjoying the last stretch before life returns to normal. The city’s enforcement and rescue staff will be on hand to keep revellers safe, but we also ask that people please be responsible irrespective of where they find themselves," he said.

Since December 1, city enforcement staff had confiscated 6790 bottles of alcohol (4318 litres) from beaches and other public spaces. This represented a near 20 percent increase compared to the same period in 2017.

Cape Town traffic service arrested 260 persons for driving under the influence at various roadblocks, while the metro police department made an additional 77 arrests. Collectively, this figure too represented a 20 percent increase year-on-year.

"These increases are indicative of the level of policing that our staff have put in this festive season. My appeal to people is to not become a statistic, either for drunk driving or as a road fatality. There have been a shocking number of deaths on our roads already this month and, in many instances, human behaviour was cited as the cause. To our motorists and particularly the long-distance operators, please exercise due care when transporting holidaymakers on their return journeys. There has been enough heartbreak and devastation on our roads already," Smith said.

On the coast, the city’s recreation and parks department had recorded two fatal drownings since the beginning of the festive season and 21 non-fatal drownings. At the city’s swimming pools, there had been 271 help-outs, where persons had gotten into difficulty in the water," Smith said.

"We are heading into a very busy period and the only way we can prevent or mitigate the risk of visitors getting into trouble in the water is through teamwork and a shared responsibility. Please listen to the instructions of city staff, and lifeguards in particular; and please do not bring alcohol to our facilities or drink before you swim," mayoral committee member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said.

The Identikidz project tagged nearly 39,000 children by Boxing Day at the 14 participating beaches. A total of 120 children became separated from their parents/caregivers. A total of 104 were successfully reunited at the beach, while 16 children were placed in the care of the Western Cape social development department on Boxing Day and later reunited with their families, Badroodien said.

Residents were reminded that there were 11 designated fireworks sites that they could access on New Year’s Eve. These sites were:
- Athlone Stadium parking area (eastern side), Klipfontein Road, Athlone;
- Wesfleur sports field, Reygersdal Drive, Atlantis;
- Bishop Lavis sports field, Lavis Drive, Bishop Lavis;
- Metropolitan sports grounds, Melkhout Street, Bonteheuwel;
- Blue Downs sports field;
- Delft Central sports grounds, Main Road, Delft;
- Macassar Beach parking area, Macassar Road;
- Swartklip sports complex, Swartklip Road, Mitchells Plain;
- Sarepta sports complex;
- Strandfontein Pavilion; and
- Tourism Centre, Athens Road, Table View beachfront.

All sites would have an enforcement and fire service presence and would be open until just after midnight.

African News Agency (ANA)