The first weekend of 2021 was relatively safe in the Western Cape, according to provincial police who have noted a decrease in crime since the evening of New Year’s Eve [December 31].

“A total of 2915 fines were issued for the contravention of the Disaster Management Act regulations,” said South African Police Service spokesperson, Brigadier Novela Potelwa in a statement.

Most of the fines were handed to individuals who flouted the curfew and were caught outside their residence between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

A total of 11 000 litres of alcohol was seized during police operations over the weekend. A reported 29 illegal shebeens were shutdown and 32 people were arrested for the sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol.

“Police officials were also deployed on beaches along the Garden Route, Overberg, West Coast and Cape Town to ensure adherence to level 3 restrictions. While most beaches were deserted, there were a few transgressors who were dealt with,” said Potelwa.

During compliance inspections, 15 people were removed from three beaches – Pringle Bay, Onrus and Castle Beach – in the Overberg on Friday, January 1. The transgressors were issued fines to the value of R15 000.

Police confiscated 13 firearms and 100 rounds of ammunition in areas across the province.

On Friday, Belhar police found three unlicensed firearms at a house in Extension 13 in Belhar following a tipoff. Two suspects aged 62 and 48 were arrested and will appear in court on charges of illegal possession of firearms.

“The area where the discovery was made is notorious for gang fights,” said Potelwa.

Meanwhile, on the same evening, SAPS members responded to sporadic shooting incidents at the Range in Elsies River and seized a firearm, rounds of ammunition, cash and an assortment of drugs including mandrax and tik.

A 32-year-old suspect was taken into custody for the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition and dealing in drugs.

“During the arrest police were pelted with stones resulting in one member sustaining injury.  An assortment of large quantities of drugs comprising mandrax tablets, crystal meth and dagga were also seized in various operations,” said Potelwa.

Seventy kilograms of marijuana in bags was discovered in a taxi bound for Cape Town at a vehicle checkpoint in Lainsburg in the Karoo in the early hours of Sunday morning [January 3]. A 27-year-old suspect from Belhar was arrested and will appear in court on Monday, January 4.

The provincial law enforcement also carried out compliance inspections that focused on taxi ranks, spaza shops, other businesses, shopping centres, funerals and other public spaces.

The police plan to continue its Safer Festive Season programme, which includes roadblocks, raids, vehicle checkpoints, compliance inspections and targeted operations, until the end of the holiday season to ensure the safety of all South Africans.

“Western Cape SAPS management have thanked the majority of people for heeding the call to observe the level 3 regulations and respecting the rule of law,” said Potelwa.

Picture: Facebook/South African Police Service

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