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With the first weekend of the festive season and the first major events out of the way, alcohol is already emerging as an unsavoury central character in the play.

The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement Department confiscated 2 224 litres of alcohol this past weekend.

Alcohol confiscations form a crucial part of the City’s enforcement efforts over the festive season in a bid to ensure public safety. The confiscations are done in accordance with City by-laws that prohibit the introduction and consumption of alcohol on beaches and in other public places.

Some of the confiscations occurred at the annual switch-on of the festive lights event on the Grand Parade. In addition, the Joint Operations Centre recorded a stabbing incident and two incidents of assault, as well as one lost child. Three suspects were arrested: one for possession of a replica firearm (a gas pistol) and two for assault, robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon.

‘There were very few incidents at the switch-on of the festive lights event this year, compared with last year’s event where there were over 40 incidents of crime. The increased safety measures, particularly the rigorous access control, were key in making this event safer. Apart from the resources deployed, we also fenced off the event area to allow for secured access points where we were able to search patrons and confiscate prohibited items. Thanks to the Kid Smart Project, we had a more sophisticated monitoring system to help reunite any lost children with their families. We will continue to introduce new safety aspects in future to give peace of mind to the thousands of people for whom this annual event is very much a tradition,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.For some, the party continued into the night – long after the festive lights had been switched on. At 05:45 this morning, a traffic officer stopped a taxi on the N2 outgoing at Bhunga Avenue after noticing passengers standing in the vehicle and consuming alcohol. There were 19 passengers in the vehicle, rendering it overloaded. While interviewing the driver, the officer noticed that he too looked like he had consumed alcohol and a breathalyser test confirmed that he was more than seven times over the legal limit. The driver tried to make a run for it while the officer was informing him of his rights, but he was caught soon after. The driver then admitted that after leaving the festive lights event, he had continued partying in Long Street and was en route home when he was pulled over.

In Sea Point, at approximately 07:30, the random breath testing team arrested another taxi driver who was transporting 10 passengers. He was found to be nearly 11 times over the legal limit.

‘This type of behaviour is becoming far too commonplace and while no longer a surprise, it is still disappointing considering how much emphasis we place on road safety in particular over the festive season.

‘I appeal to the public to work with us to ensure that we root out this type of arrogance and ignorance, not just over the holiday period, but permanently. Every time something happens, we are faced with a barrage of criticism about enforcement, but that’s really not where we are falling short. People need to start taking accountability for their actions if we are ever to make a meaningful difference on our roads,’ said Alderman Smith.

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