Cape Town services ensure a safer Christmas weekend

St James Beach

Cape Town’s emergency and enforcement services helped to ensure a safer Christmas long weekend by putting in extra time and effort at tourist hotspots across the metro.

Thousands of local and international tourists flocked to the city’s beaches and facilities, keeping officials on their toes. An estimated 45 000 people flocked to the beaches and swimming pools. 
Sadly, two men drowned in separate incidents on the Day of Goodwill, 26 December 2017.
A father who jumped into the sea at Gordon’s Bay, drowned while attempting to rescue his son. They were fishing when the boy was swept off the rocks. 
In the second incident, an elderly gentleman drowned at Soetwater. He had gone into the water to take out his daily crayfish quota, he suffered a heart attack and drowned. In both cases attempts were made to resuscitate the victims, but to no avail. 
‘An estimated 45 000 people made their way to the city’s beaches and swimming pools. This is fewer than expected when compared to the same time last year and we suspect this was due to the wind,’ said the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.
‘Although there has been a marked decrease in drownings and less people on the city’s beaches, enforcement agencies remain on high alert. Last festive season we had seven drownings between 1 December 2016 and 3 January 2017 (compared to 13 cases which were recorded over the same period the previous year). With another peak weekend coming up we remain vigilant. Drowning remains a concern and we urge people to have fun safely and to swim where there are lifeguards.
‘The consumption of alcohol on the beaches and unattended minors requires continued vigilance. Liquor confiscations on the city’s beaches were again at a record high, with revellers finding new and innovative ways to try and conceal their alcohol. This year more than 900 bottles of alcohol were confiscated on the Christmas weekend alone.  This included 492 beers, 293 ciders, 62 bottles of spirits and 53 bottles of wine. This figure is likely to rise as we are still receiving confiscated alcohol,’ said Alderman Smith.
Nearly 40 children went missing on beaches this weekend, but all were reunited with their families.

Identikidz Programme

‘Our Identikidz Programme has to be commended for ensuring that little ones who get lost are returned safely,’ said Alderman Smith.
The City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Directorate coordinates the programme, in which parents and caregivers can register their children when they arrive at participating beaches. 
An armband is issued to the child and includes the contact details of their parent or caregiver. Should the child be separated from their family, this then helps City staff or the police to reunite the child with their family. In the event that a child’s family is not tracked down by the end of the day, the child will be handed over to the Western Cape Department of Social Development.
From 18 to 25 December the City’s Traffic Services Department conducted a number of roadblocks throughout the City and arrested 29 suspects, 25 for driving under the influence of alcohol, two for outstanding warrants and two for possession of drugs. 
At Sparks Bay, law enforcement officers confiscated an illegal firearm.
‘The holiday season places huge demands on City staff, infrastructure and other resources. Emergency personnel put in long hours to ensure that visitors leave the City with only happy memories. At times our resources are stretched to the limit, and I want to commend our staff for their hard work and dedication. I also want to thank the public for their role in helping us to create a safer city,’ said Alderman Smith.
The City’s festive season deployments are in line with the Organisational Development and Transformation Plan in which the City aims to provide a safer city for all.