Thousands of tourists will again flock to Cape Town this summer and the relevant City departments are working around the clock to ensure a safe and enjoyable Festive Season for all.
The City compiles a comprehensive Festive Season Preparedness Plan every year, in which it identifies ways to address the safety and service delivery challenges that come with the increased number of people, leisure activities and events happening in the city between 1 November 2011 and 29 February 2012.
A Festive Season Coordination Committee will oversee and coordinate the Festive Season Preparedness Plan, led by the City’s Executive Director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman.
“The City’s coordinated Festive Season Preparedness Plan ensures that proactive measures are taken, with a focus on highly visible policing, combating general as well as alcohol- and drug-related crime, targeting drunk drivers through holding roadblocks, assisting motorists to ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy, keeping the city clean, and providing adequate emergency services resources across the city,” said Bosman.
According to Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, the City is committed to delivering an overall holiday experience for visitors that makes them want to return to the city.
“At the same time, the City must create an atmosphere which makes residents feel proud to live in Cape Town – an aim we can achieve by showing Capetonians how well prepared we are for the Festive Season,” said Mayor de Lille.
The Festive Season’s ceremonial start is marked by the switch-on of the festive lights in Adderley Street. The event is scheduled for Sunday, 4 December 2011 at 20:00. Each year it draws more than 80 000 residents and tourists to the Central Business District, and is the highlight of the City’s Events Calendar. It showcases how safe the city is, even at night. People can still attend events and walk in the streets of the city, with the beautiful natural wonder of Table Mountain as backdrop. The event starts with a concert at the Cape Town Station Forecourt. Mayor de Lille will switch on the Adderley Street festive light display at 20:00, followed by a fun-filled carnival parade to welcome visitors to our city.
The Festive Season Preparedness Plan includes the following measures from City departments:
Disaster Risk Management
Staff of the Disaster Risk Management Centre, together with volunteers, will be deployed across the city at beaches and swimming pools to provide support services to lifeguards. They will also do duty at tourist destinations in order to ensure maximum safety.
The Disaster Risk Management teams will co-ordinate major incidents or disasters, and a dedicated hotline has been established at the City’s Disaster Operation Centre to deal with complaints and enquiries throughout the Festive Season. The hotline number is 021 597 6003.
Law Enforcement, Metro Police and Traffic Services
A total of 1 319 members from the Metro Police, Traffic Services, Law Enforcement and Specialised Services will be deployed during this period. This includes 120 new positions in the Law Enforcement Department which are currently being filled. These new members will contribute significantly to increased safety on the city’s beaches.
“The Metro Police will increase their patrols around ATMs this summer, as the influx of visitors may lead to increased theft attempts. Staff will be deployed to City beaches to focus on the consumption and possession of liquor on beaches and surrounding areas,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman J.P. Smith.
Operations conducted throughout the year will be continued in the Festive Season as necessary.
In addition, the newly established Equestrian Unit will render ad hoc patrols on beaches throughout the city and will also conduct concentrated patrols on Signal Hill and Table Mountain during the Festive Season.
Other law enforcement agencies of the City will, in addition to their normal daily tasks, enforce the City’s by-laws and fight minor crimes as well. Numerous roadblocks will be conducted across the city, focusing on drunk driving, unroadworthy vehicles and unlicensed drivers.
Traffic Services will conduct free basic vehicle safety checks at the following traffic centres: Gallows Hill, Bellville, Kuils River, Brackenfell, Hillstar, Joe Gqabi, Goodwood and Durbanville, between 10:00 and 14:00 each working day from 28 November 2011 to 15 December 2011.
Traffic Services will launch ‘Operation Exodus’, aimed at clamping down on unsafe vehicles leaving the city, with a particular focus on targeting long-distance public transport operators. A strong emphasis will be placed on the enforcement of public transport vehicles over the Festive Season, with the aim of reducing the alarmingly high accident rate on our roads.
Various Public Transport Interchanges, including Joe Gqabi, Bellville/Parc Du Cap, Mfuleni, Langa, Dunoon, Cape Town Station, R27 and Epping will be manned by traffic officers. Vehicle check points and speed checks will be set up in the vicinity of the Interchanges.
Traffic Services will also be attending to a number of special events over the Festive Season including the traditional Minstrel events, as well as increased traffic deployment around all of the beaches within the city.
Fire and Rescue Services
The City’s Fire and Rescue Services teams deal with more than 8 000 vegetation fires every year, most of which occur in the summer months.
Apart from the City’s staff complement for Fire and Rescue Services of 826 personnel, the City will employ 120 seasonal fire-fighters on a contract basis during this period. They are deployed at various fire stations to assist fire-fighters during the summer months. Their contract period is from November 2011 to April 2012.
City Health Services
City clinics will function as per normal over the Festive Season. Primary Health Care Clinics will be open on weekdays, with the Provincial Government of the Western Cape’s 24-hour Community Health Centres (day hospitals) open on weekdays as well as over weekends and public holidays.
The City’s Environmental Health Department, together with Water and Sanitation’s Scientific Services, will carefully monitor the quality of drinking water and recreational water during the Festive Season. There will also be an increased focus on monitoring food premises, accommodation establishments, public ablution facilities and special events.
R10,6 million has been budgeted for cleansing during the Festive Season. Refuse removal will continue uninterrupted over this period (even on public holidays). More than 1 290 extra cleansing staff will be appointed to conduct additional cleaning in business districts and on scenic routes and beaches.
Sport, Recreation and Amenities
Approximately 250 trained and accredited lifeguards will be deployed to various beaches between 10:00 and 18:00 daily. This is in addition to private lifesaving clubs on some beaches, Lifesaving Western Province’s volunteer services, the National Search and Rescue Institute and Medic helicopter.
“The City has also invested in new life-saving equipment, including additional rubber ducks, life-saving boats, torpedo buoys and jet-skis. This equipment will be available on the beach when lifeguards are on duty,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Tandeka Gqada.
There will also be 284 lifeguards on duty at the City’s 36 public swimming pools this Festive Season. All public pools will be open between 10:00 and 17:00 daily, except for Blue Downs, Long Street, Strand and Sea Point swimming pools, which will be open from 07:00 to 19:00 daily.
Regular checks will be conducted on public amenities at beaches and swimming pools to ensure that all bathrooms and showers are clean and in working order, facilities are kept neat and maintained, and that tidal pools at beaches are managed properly.
Baboons in the Festive Season
Residents and visitors are reminded that it is illegal to feed baboons that roam in and around our city. The best advice is to steer clear of the animals, and not to leave any open food which they can steal.
Report any baboon incidents to the Baboon Reporting Hotline on 071 588 6540.
General safety tips and advice for the Festive Season:
- The public is requested to report any emergency (including medical, crime, fire and traffic) to the 107 emergency number from a Telkom line. Cell phone users need to dial 021 480 7700.
- As part of the Provincial Government’s Safely Home campaign, and to ensure that holiday-makers have a safe trip, motorists are encouraged to ensure that their vehicles are in a sound roadworthy condition. They are therefore urged to make use of the Traffic Services’ free roadworthy testing services during the Festive Season.
- The public is advised to swim in designated bathing areas on beaches which will be indicated by yellow and red flags positioned by lifeguards and obey their instructions.
- Beachgoers must pay close attention to the shark warning system of the Shark Spotters, and must always follow the instructions of the lifeguards on duty.
- Residents and visitors to Cape Town are asked to be mindful of the fact that the Festive Season coincides with the Cape’s long, dry summer season, which brings an increased risk of runaway fires. The casual tossing away of cigarettes, unauthorised burning of refuse or rubbish, and lighting of fires in non-designated areas could lead to a fire of devastating proportions. Residents and visitors are therefore requested to practise extreme caution around any action that could result in the ignition of a fire of any kind. Keeping the vegetation on your premises/property trimmed, clean and well-maintained, extinguishing cooking or braai fires after use, switching off all electrical appliances after use and limiting children’s access to matches and lighters will minimise the risk of fires starting or spreading.
- Summer is also the period that sees an increase in the incidence of diarrheal disease. Washing hands before preparing food and after toilet use, ensuring that food is prepared in hygienic conditions and kept refrigerated, as well as keeping flies away from prepared food, are some of the measures that should be taken to prevent diarrheal disease. Severe dehydration can cause death in children following diarrheal disease and parents are encouraged to visit their nearest health clinic as soon as possible if children under five years have continuous diarrhoea, refuse to take in fluids (or not sucking for babies who are still breast- or bottle-fed), are lethargic, or have sunken eyes or fontanels. On weekends and public holidays children must be taken to the nearest 24-hour Community Health Centre (Day Hospital).
- Capetonians who will be away on holiday should ensure that they visit their clinics and Day Hospitals before leaving to ensure that they obtain their vital medication, such as T.B. medication, anti-retrovirals, family planning and other chronic medication, for the period that they will be out of town. Alternatively, their appointment cards can be taken with them so that the local primary health care clinic closest to their holiday destination can be accessed.
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