More City of Cape Town Law Enforcement Officers will be deployed to beaches as matric valedictory celebrations approach. Each year, students flock to popular Mother City beaches in droves and authorities struggle to deal with unruly teenagers.
“In the past, the City’s Law Enforcement, Metro Police and Traffic Departments have had their hands full along the Atlantic Seaboard and False Bay coastline, with popular spots including Clifton, Maiden’s Cove, Camps Bay and Strandfontein Beach,” says Mayco Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien. “Based on these past experiences, our staff will be deployed to these spots to ensure the safety of our young people. It’s a reality that these celebrations go hand in hand with alcohol use and if left unchecked, can devolve into a situation where people’s safety is compromised.”
The City also calls on parents to ensure that they know their children’s whereabouts, who they’re driving with and to implore them to behave responsibly. “This is meant to be a celebration, and we want to make sure that everyone gets home safely so that they can focus on their exams and their future,” Badroodien said.
The City’s enforcement services will maintain a high visibility at beaches, conduct random searches at the entrance routes to main beaches and extend their hours of operation based on the prevailing situation.
Beachgoers are reminded that the introduction, possession and consumption of liquor in beach areas and other public spaces is prohibited. Offenders will have their liquor confiscated and receive a written notice to appear in court, with a fine of R500.
Many parents have also welcomed the news following the stabbing of a first-year University of Cape Town student of Clifton 3rd Beach just last week.
The City’s lifeguards have been on duty at beaches since September 20, 2019.
Their daily shifts are from 10am until 6pm, but there has been a decision to extend working hours at main beaches until 8pm to ensure a presence during the valedictory celebrations.
“Although the beach is an ideal place for learners to make memories during the last days of their schooling years, the risks to personal safety are amplified by illegal drinking at beaches. Drinking is not allowed at any beach in Cape Town. Statistics show that 67% of drownings in the past were related to behavioural misconduct near water. Alcohol distorts one’s perception of risk and impairs judgement. It also affects reaction time, by reducing the rate that the brain processes information. Unfortunately, this results in a high number of deaths caused by drinking and swimming. It is also valuable to know that alcohol reduces the effectiveness of CPR,” Badroodien said.
Members of the public are reminded to save the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre number on their cellphones – 021 480 7700.