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The City of Cape Town’s enforcement and rescue services are bracing for a busy weekend as the festive season goes into full swing. With the long weekend ahead and temperatures soaring, the City reminds residents to keep safety top of mind at all times. Read more below:

With schools officially closed and many businesses following suit from today, officials are expecting increased activity on a number of fronts, including at long-distance public transport interchanges, shopping malls and the beaches.

The City has a festive season operational plan that covers all of these priority areas and more.

On the roads, the Cape Town Traffic Service is launching Operation Exodus today, 14 December 2018, to ensure vehicle and driver fitness particularly for long-distance public transport vehicles. Each year, thousands of people travel to other parts of the country to spend the holidays with their families. Operation Exodus offers free safety checks to public transport operators to ensure that their vehicles are in sound condition before hitting the road. The campaign runs until Christmas Eve.

‘Road fatalities are one of the heart-breaking realities in South Africa, and more so when you have multiple casualties from minibuses and buses. Operation Exodus is designed to give peace of mind to drivers, but also to the passengers who rely on them to get them home safely for the holidays. I therefore urge public transport operators to do the right thing and subject their vehicles and drivers to these checks before they set off on their trips,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

The Metro Police Department, in conjunction with the South African Police Service and other safety and security role-players, will increase their presence around busy shopping hubs and major roads to thwart any potential criminal activity in these areas.

On the beaches, the City’s Law Enforcement Department will focus on the enforcement of City by-laws and public safety.

‘We have an annual struggle and that struggle is alcohol. It is the common denominator in virtually all of our enforcement challenges over the festive season, but also for the rest of the year. I remind the public that we have a zero-tolerance approach to drinking in public, but also anyone found behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence. There are responsible alternatives and I implore people to make use of them,’ added Alderman Smith.

The City’s Law Enforcement staff members are also trained in lifesaving and will assist the Recreation and Parks Department’s lifeguard complement in keeping bathers safe.

‘We have more than three hundred lifeguards on duty at our beaches, but visitor safety is a team effort. We reiterate our calls to beachgoers to refrain from drinking at our public facilities, but more importantly to not drink and swim. We are also implementing the Identikidz project at 14 beaches until after the peak festive season period, so I urge caregivers to register their children as soon as they arrive at one of the participating beaches. That way, we can ensure a quick reunion in the event that the child is separated from their family,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.

The Identikidz Project will be run on the following dates: 14, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31 December and 1 – 2 January at the following beaches:

Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Strandfontein, Gordon’s Bay, Strand, Monwabisi, Harmony Park, Mnandi, Big Bay, Sea Point, Silverstroom, Camps Bay, Lagoon Beach and Melkbosstrand.

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