Each festive season, the number of alcohol bottles confiscated on local beaches and public areas seems to increase, and this year, ahead of the rush, the City is going to be disposing of nearly 12 000 litres of alcohol.

Annually, around mid-November, the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement Department disposes of bottles of alcohol that have been in storage since being confiscated the previous year as part of the City’s operational readiness plan for the upcoming festive season.

A total of 16 926 bottles were confiscated last year, equating to 11 515 litres of alcohol.

The alcohol was confiscated mainly from beaches in the festive season of the previous year. The disposal of the bottles still in storage ensures that room is available for bottles confiscated in the next festive season. The alcohol is disposed of at the Law Enforcement storage depot.

Nearly half of alcohol confiscations happen over three priority days during the festive season each year. In 2017, Cape Town’s annual Festival Lights Switch-on saw 1 818 bottles confiscated, while Boxing Day and New Year’s Day saw 2 126 and 3 805 bottles confiscated respectively.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith, is going to be overseeing the confiscation operations this year.

Statistics show that many feel they cannot have fun during the festive season without the presence of alcohol. However, in reality this leads to a blatant disregard of the law and forces the City to dedicate a large amount of enforcement resources that could be used elsewhere.

Key trends observed over the years include:

– Children being used to smuggle alcohol

– Alcohol being decanted into cool drink bottles

– Alcohol being hidden in beach sand to avoid it being detected

– Alcohol being taken to open-access beaches like Strand, Camps Bay and Clifton. where there is no enforcement checking bags and vehicles.

The City is focusing on increasing the presence of officers on the road to ensure the safety of those travelling and watch for motorists driving under the influence, to the point of exhausting overtime budgets .

A recent project called the ‘Identikidz project’ has been implemented over the last few years to prioritise the safety of unsupervised children on beaches.

The following measures are being put in place for the festive season to ensure public safety:

– 1 343 Metro Police, Traffic and Law Enforcement staff will be placed in priority areas

– Eight joint operation centres across the metropole will be open and running

– 334 lifeguards will be on duty on eight beaches

– The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service will have more than 900 professional firefighters on standby in case of a major incident, including 120 seasonal firefighters, as well as two helicopters and a spotter plane ready

– 1 888 temporary workers will be employed to clean beaches and business areas

– Disaster Risk Management and Social Development staff will be deployed at 14 beaches on priority days to run the Identikidz project.


Ahead of the festive season, the City is appealing to all members of the public to adhere to the law and be aware of the dangers of consuming alcohol in public and the effects it has on the city and its people.


Picture: The City of Cape Town

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