3 January 2018

South Africa: Cape Town On High Alert As Temperatures Soar

The City of Cape Town's Safety and Security Directorate says it will maintain high levels of visibility at beaches and other public areas until the school holidays wind down.

Staff will be on high alert over the next two days in particular as the South African Weather Service has predicted very hot weather conditions that are likely to drive a large number of visitors to the coastline.

"Many people are still on holiday and I think they'll want to make the most of any good weather, considering that both the peak festive season weekends didn't offer the greatest weather conditions," said the city's Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and Social Services, JP Smith.

Many of the city's popular beaches were decidedly more quiet on New Year's Day, with an estimated 30 000 people on Muizenberg, 12 000 at Strandfontein Pavilion, 8 000 at Strand and just 3 000 at Monwabisi.

Between 1 December 2017 and 1 January 2018, 10 drownings were recorded compared to seven during the previous festive season. Three of the incidents happened at Mnandi, four at Strand and one each at Soetwater, Monwabisi and Muizenberg. There were also two false alarms at Strand and Melkbosstrand.

Smith said the number of drownings is disappointing, as officials worked hard to ensure the environment is safe by deploying extra lifeguards.

"We will look at each incident to see what the exact circumstances were and how we can improve our beach safety strategy in future," said Smith.

In terms of alcohol confiscations, the final figures are not yet available as checking in alcohol is a time-consuming process that requires numerous checks and balances.

As of Tuesday, there were just over 7 000 bottles of alcohol in the city pound, totalling nearly 5 000 litres.

The Identikidz programme was implemented at various priority beaches, with just under 29 000 children tagged over the New Year long weekend.

A total of 47 children were reported lost but were reunited with their families. One other was handed over to a social worker from the Western Cape Department of Social Development at Big Bay on New Year's Eve.

On the roads, Cape Town Traffic Services screened 17 070 motorists for alcohol and issued 269 609 written notices during the month of December. They arrested 1 441 suspects, including 588 for driving while intoxicated, 449 for outstanding warrants and 151 for reckless and negligent driving. Officers also impounded 501 cell phones.

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