Cape Town on high alert ahead of New Year festivities

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The City of Cape Town says it will remain on high alert for revellers ahead of the New Year’s Day celebrations.

“Although there has been a marked decrease in drownings and less people on the city’s beaches, enforcement agencies remain on high alert. 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,” said the city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith, in a statement on Wednesday, following the Christmas long weekend.

Thousands of local and international tourists flocked to the city’s beaches and facilities, keeping officials on their toes. On 26 December, two men drowned in separate incidents.

In the first incident 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 man 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.

In the past the city had seven drownings between 1 December 2016 and 3 January 2017.

The city said an estimated 45 000 people made their way to the city’s beaches and swimming pools, which was lower than had been anticipated.

Smith said 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 at 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 Smith.

Meanwhile, around 40 children went missing on beaches this weekend, but were all reunited with their families.

The city’s Identikidz Programme has ensured that little ones who get lost are returned safe. Under the programme parents and caregivers can register their children when they arrive at participating beaches.

An armband, which  includes the contact details of their parent or caregiver, is issued to the child. Should the child be separated from their family, this then helps city staff or the police to reunite the child with their family.


From 18 to 25 December the Traffic Services Department conducted a number of roadblocks throughout the city. A total 29 suspects were arrested, 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 Smith. -


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