The eThekwini Metro said the New Year’s weekend had been a hugely successful one for the city, after about 4 million people visited the city’s main beach between December 29 and January 1.
The municipality said the weekend had been a success, primarily because incidents were kept to a minimum under exceedingly difficult circumstances. The intensified efforts to ensure the public’s safety appear to have yielded positive results.
“The Municipality is happy to announce that it was an incident free long weekend as Law Enforcement Officers, Metro Police and the South African Police Services were out in full force to keep an eye on over 3 907 668 people who visited the stretch of beaches on the Ethekwini coastline,” said Festive Season Management Committee Chairman Malcolm Canham.
“The troublemakers were dealt with decisively and we issued over 860 warnings for drinking in public, fighting, illegal braais and bathing in restricted areas. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable on our beaches and we are clamping down such behaviour.
“A further 161 people were charged for unlicensed vehicles and parking in prohibited areas including motorcycle lanes and disabled parking bays. The swift response of our law enforcement officers also resulted in the arrest of 8 people for cellphone and handbag theft, and some were caught with drugs in their possession,” added Canham, explaining that better law enforcement had been largely responsible for the safer environment on the beaches.
Among the biggest fears for authorities during this period are children going missing and drownings. Rescue crews were on high alert this festive season.
“A total of 33 rescues were carried out and 2 662 people received first aid treatment for different medical reasons. This includes five people who were sent to hospital for incidents comprising near-drowning, arm dislocation and ankle sprain.
“Over 44 033 arm bands were issued to children coming to the beach. About 332 children were separated from their parents and 328 were re-united with their parents. Four children were taken to the overnight facility and at present, three children are still in the custody of the Municipality’s Child Minders. Parents are requested to make contact urgently with officials to be reunited with their children. Proof of identity and relationship with the separated child is required.”