Po­lice tar­get un­ruly rev­ellers

Hordes of partygoers set to rock the Mother City

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BIANCA CA­PA­ZO­RIO

PO­LICE, emer­gency ser­vices and traf­fic au­thor­i­ties are all on high alert as hordes of rev­ellers pre­pare to ring in 2012 in the Western Cape.

Cape Town was al­ready heav­ing this week, with nearly 50 000 peo­ple at the city’s beaches, swim­ming pools and camp­sites. By noon yes­ter­day there were nearly 3 000 peo­ple at the pools and nearly 6 000 on the beaches, with the busiest be­ing Soet­wa­ter, Strand and Gor­don’s Bay.

Dis­as­ter man­age­ment spokesman Wil­fred Solomons- Jo­hannes said the city’s camp­sites were also jam-packed – with 800 campers at Har­mony Park in Strand, 1 050 at Sil­w­er­stroom­strand near Malmes­bury, 600 at Hen­don Park and 720 at Koggel Bay, both near Gor­don’s Bay, and 730 at Soet­wa­ter.

Some of the ma­jor par­ties planned for Cape Town tonight in­clude the Min­istry of Sound party at the CTICC, par­ties at the V&A Wa­ter­front, the New Year’s Eve con­cert at Kirsten­bosch Gar­dens and the Play­boy Party at Trinity night­club in Green Point.

Solomons-jo­hannes said dis­as­ter man­age­ment would mon­i­tor “all events and fes­tiv­i­ties”, in­clud­ing the beaches and the Malay choir and min­strel marches tonight and on Mon­day.

Western Cape po­lice spokesman Lieu­tenant Colonel An­dre Traut said the fes­tive sea­son pro­gramme, launched in Oc­to­ber, would ex­tend over the en­tire new year week­end.

“We will be on high alert, with nu­mer­ous op­er­a­tions. We will have the max­i­mum num­ber of po­lice of­fi­cers on the streets,” he said.

The fo­cus was on con­trol­ling drugs, liquor and liquor abuse while min­imis­ing loss of life.

May­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for safety and se­cu­rity JP Smith said the city’s fes­tive sea­son plan was “firmly in hand”. The agenda in­cluded 24 items, in­clud­ing trans­port, law en­force­ment, an­i­mal safety and fire­works. All staff would be work­ing this week­end.

Smith said there was a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on fire­works, with metro po­lice vis­it­ing ar­eas where they are tra­di­tion­ally set off. These in­clude Sun­rise Cir­cle near Muizen­berg, where 15 000 peo­ple turned up for Guy Fawkes last month.

He re­it­er­ated that the only site with a per­mit to set off fire­works

was the Wa­ter­front, which would have its tra­di­tional fire­works dis­play tonight. “Any other fire­works dis­plays are un­law­ful.”

Traf­fic au­thor­i­ties have also promised a heavy pres­ence across the prov­ince. City traf­fic spokes­woman Merle Lourens said they would be “out in full force” the en­tire week­end, pay­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion to ar­eas around beaches. They would also close roads around min­strel events. “We’ve specif­i­cally brought in peo­ple to mon­i­tor Ta­ble Moun­tain and Sig­nal Hill.”

Of­fi­cers would also be on the look­out for drunk driv­ers. Lourens said one road­block on the Stel­len­bosch ar­te­rial road on Thurs­day night net­ted three drunk driv­ers.

Provin­cial traf­fic chief Kenny Africa warned that there would be sev­eral road­blocks, with ar­eas tar­geted in­clud­ing Strand, Stil­baai, Wilder­ness and Her­manus. He said there would be a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to al­co­hol. Of­fi­cers would also be speed- trap­ping on all ma­jor routes.

Their other fo­cus was “Op­er­a­tion Fa­tigue” – of­fi­cers were pulling over taxi driv­ers on the no­to­ri­ous N1 death stretch and forc­ing them to take breaks. “Since we started this op­er­a­tion on De­cem­ber 22 we have pulled over 1 510 taxis. We forced 159 driv­ers to sleep for two to three hours and bat­tled to wake some up af­ter two hours… be­cause of lack of sleep.”

bianca.ca­pa­zo­rio@inl.co.za

DE­CEM­BER 31 2011

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