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The City of Cape Town’s enforcement and rescue services have had a taste of things to come following the mid-December long weekend. Read more below:

With the first long weekend for the festive season a thing of the past, the City has highlighted several enforcement and safety challenges that need to be addressed.

Maximum deployment levels were maintained on the roads, recreational areas and shopping hubs.

With temperatures soaring on Sunday and Monday, thousands of people headed outdoors.

‘The long weekend was a dry run for the peak festive season period, when the number of people heading to recreational areas and other places of entertainment is likely to increase exponentially. While there were no major incidents from a City perspective, we are seeing recurring themes around drunk driving, speeding and drinking on the beaches. Many of our biggest headaches are linked to behaviour, and it is an unfortunate reality that we will not create truly safe spaces until we address the problematic behaviour,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

The City’s Law Enforcement Department confiscated just over one thousand bottles of alcohol between 1 and 14 December 2018, totalling 796,55 litres. The tally is expected to increase significantly once all of the confiscations from the long weekend are recorded.

In the last week, the City’s Traffic officers made 93 arrests for drunk driving and reckless and negligent driving, among others. They also issued 12 174 fines for various offences.

Vehicle checkpoints and patrols linked to Operation Exodus accounted for more than three quarters of the offences recorded, including 44 drunk driving arrests, 167 overloaded vehicles and nearly 7 000 speeding offences.

In the first four days of the operation, 385 buses, midi and minibuses were checked for roadworthiness.

‘We have already had an alarming number of fatalities on the province’s roads this festive season. I therefore appeal to public transport operators to please make use of the potentially lifesaving checks that Operation Exodus provides. We thank those vehicle owners who have done the right thing and urge others to follow suit.

‘Our Fire and Rescue Service has also indicated that they’re attending to, on average, 13 to 14 motor vehicle accidents and 10 pedestrian incidents daily, so this too is something that is of grave concern to us. Non-fatal collisions aren’t often reported on, but they can be as devastating to those involved,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

The Metro Police Department arrested 17 suspects on a range of charges including possession of drugs and stolen property, common assault and drunk driving.

In Gugulethu, officers recovered a .38 Taurus revolver during crime prevention patrols in the area. The suspect ran off when he saw officers approaching and tossed the gun mid-pursuit. He managed to get away, but officers recovered the firearm and booked it in at the local police station.

On the beaches, there have been no fatal drowning incidents since the beginning of the festive season. Lifeguards have, however, been kept busy with a number of near drowning incidents. While statistics have yet to be finalised, there were at least 10 recorded incidents where water users got into difficulty and required assistance.

‘During a walkabout at several of our beaches over the long weekend, lifeguards expressed concern about a number of issues including alcohol consumption on the beaches, children being left unattended and beachgoers not swimming in the designated areas.

‘Some lifeguards also remarked that there have been a number of incidents where visitors to the beaches ignored their instructions. I remind the public that the lifeguards are there to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of others. They are specifically trained for the task and so I appeal to the public to please listen to the lifeguards,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.

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