Police target unruly revellers
Hordes of partygoers set to rock the Mother City
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.”