City of Cape Town enforcement staff hold their own during a busy December
City of Cape Town Mayco member, JP Smith, extended his sincere appreciation to the city’s enforcement and rescue services. “Staff have once again put their best foot forward to ensure public safety over the festive season,” he said. “The results of their efforts are indeed something to be proud of as the statistics show. It needs to be acknowledged that the terrible incident involving a private security company’s actions on Clifton Beach overshadowed much of the festive season news relating to Cape Town. It was an incident that harmed the goodwill and trust between people and undermined our efforts to achieve a non-racial South Africa. The City acted swiftly to deal with all transgressions and ensured that the public were not subjected to any further such incidents at the hands of private security, at Clifton or any other public area.”
“Having acknowledged that, we can perhaps also pause to thank the public, local and visitors alike, who worked with our emergency and policing staff to improve the safety of the festive season for all. The statistics show that we have seen reduced deaths on roads over this period, reduced drownings, more children registered at the Identikidz stalls at the beach and reduced fires and fire-related deaths. This is all cause for celebration meaning that more people started this New Year on a positive note and not beset by tragedy.”
Smith thanked the people of Cape Town, the visitors and all the emergency and policing services of Cape Town, SAPS, NSRI, SANParks and all the departments and agencies that made this possible. He said that collectively, the City’s three enforcement agencies arrested 737 suspects on a range of charges, including drunk driving and possession of drugs.
The Fire and Rescue Service responded to 2 411 fire calls and 1 126 special service calls, a slight increase in both categories year-on-year. There was also an increase in residential fires, but fewer structures were affected and the number of fatalities was lower. The Public Emergency Communication Centre’s busiest shift was on New Year’s Eve when staff fielded 1 049 calls, followed by Boxing Day when 962 calls were logged. For the month of December, the centre fielded 41 209 calls, 77 percent of which were emergency calls.
Cape Town Traffic Service also arrested 5 056 motorists for outstanding warrants under the auspices of Operation Reclaim. A further 12 700 warrants were served. Traffic officers also recorded just over 200 000 offences, the bulk of these being for speeding.
On the beaches and other public spaces, law enforcement staff confiscated 9 968 bottles of alcohol, equating to nearly 6 400 litres. This is a marginal increase year-on-year (from 9 458 bottles in the previous festive season) and is once again indicative of the fact that many people simply choose not to heed warnings about alcohol use in public.
It is a massive logistical exercise, but an important one, because it means fewer people swimming while inebriated and potentially putting their lives in danger; less anti-social behaviour in our public spaces; and fewer motor vehicle accidents on our roads.
Our enforcement and rescue service staff are often taken for granted and exposed to abuse because of public perceptions. While there may be some bad apples, the reality is that the majority of uniformed staff work very hard and take their jobs very seriously. This diligence and determination to keep Joe Public safe often goes unnoticed, but I would like to pause and say thank you to each and every one of our permanent staff members, but also to the volunteers and neighbourhood watch members who all made a contribution to a safer Cape Town during what is undoubtedly one of our busiest periods.
We are heading into the final push this weekend before schools reopen, so we expect beaches and other public attractions to be very busy once more. We are also mindful that many young people will be celebrating the release of the matric results. I caution the public to please exercise caution and to conduct themselves responsibly.
Below is a snapshot of the some of the statistics by department:
Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service:
• 3 537 calls responded to
• 435 residential fire calls
• 1 853 bush and grass fires
• 866 trauma incidents
• Eight fire fatalities
• 4 662 vehicles stopped
• 4 222 drivers tested for DUI
• 91 drunk driving arrests
• 85 drug-related arrests
• 80 general arrests
• Six dangerous weapons and nine rounds of ammunition confiscated
• Two stolen vehicles recovered
• 35 arrests
• 6 932 traffic fines issued
• 9 968 bottles of alcohol confiscated
• 1 764 Section 56 notices issued
• 2 463 general impoundments
Cape Town Traffic Service:
• 311 drunk driving arrests
• 135 general arrests
• 5 056 warrant arrests
• 202 128 fines issued
• 12 700 warrants served
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town