The festive season in Muizenberg usually brings with it gridlocked traffic, public drunkenness, overcrowded beaches and ankle-deep rubbish, but this time things were different.
Ward councillor Aimee Khul said hard work and cooperation among the SAPS, City law enforcement, traffic officials, the Muizenberg Improvement District, neighbourhood watches and volunteers saw Muizenberg have one of its smoothest and safest festive seasons.
Ms Khul said alcohol seizures from beach goers, vehicle searches and closing congested beach areas to traffic had all paid off.
“My sincere thanks goes out to all the volunteers and City officials who kept us and our roads safe as well as our beaches clean this festive season.”
She said she had seen “unparalleled levels of cooperation” between the authorities and ordinary citizens.”I am extremely proud of the individuals that went the extra mile this year.
“I encourage all citizens to become involved in their ratepayers’ associations and neighbourhood watches.
“In these challenging times, it is paramount that communities work together in preserving our beautiful coastline and keeping each other safe.”
Muizenberg SAPS spokesman, Captain Stephen Knapp, said police had seized almost 2 000 litres of alcohol during December, including from shebeens, which often supplied beach goers.
Law enforcement over the festive season had been a “huge success” thanks to good planning and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and civic groups, he said.
“Special thanks must be given to the volunteers, especially the neighbourhood watches, who gave up their free time in ensuring the safety of visitors to the area.”
The Muizenberg Lakeside Ratepayers’ Association (MLRA) said visible policing and “high cleansing standards” had sent a message that the beach and vlei were “great places for law-abiding people to celebrate the holidays”. Several other things had also made the season a success:
Extra cleaning staff hired by the City, covering both the beach and the Zandvlei picnic sites.
Volunteers who arrived bright and early to clean up the areas not covered by the City.
Traffic officers who remained on their feet in the blazing sun, keeping the traffic flow as free as possible and reacting swiftly to violations.
Law enforcement officers who enforced by-laws and kept alcohol off the beach.
Neighbourhood watch members from as far afield as Grassy Park, who helped where needed.
Community members who were generous with refreshments for those “on the ground”.
Mounted police patrolling the dunes and Sunrise Beach.
Community organisations working together to support the City.
MIDS manager, Chevone Petersen, said its public safety team had met with Law Enforcement’s new principal inspector for the area, Ivor Ramsay, on Thursday December 14 and again on Wednesday December 20 to discuss Mr Ramsay’s festive season safety plan with SAPS, Metrorail, neighbourhood watches, security firms, civic groups and Ms Kuhl.
The plan had called for several police check-points on roads leading to Muizenberg.
“This not only benefited Muizenberg but all areas along the coast towards Simon’s Town reducing alcohol consumption on public beaches and parks,” Ms Petersen said.
“Most of the alcohol confiscated would have ended up being consumed at the beach, resulting in a different and most probably unpleasant experience for others – especially law enforcement authorities who would have to deal with groups of highly intoxicated people as seen in previous years.”
Targeting East Beach parking area as the main drop-off point for taxis and buses had stopped a lot of alcohol getting onto the beaches, especially once word had got out that taxi drivers were being fined for off-loading passengers with alcohol onto the beaches.
“For the first time no visitors were waiting until the early morning hours for their taxis or buses to collect them,” Ms Petersen said.
Law Enforcement had also swiftly tackled by-law transgressions around the vlei area and ensured it wasn’t blocked off by taxis and cars blaring noise.
To prevent children getting lost, parents had been advised to have them tagged at a facility run by the City’s social services.
Ms Petersen said MID had funded additional cleaning throughout the festive season and supported volunteer clean-ups. She thanked the City’s parks and recreation and solid waste teams for a job well done.
“Some mornings by 7am, after the big holidays, there was no litter in sight – absolutely amazing.” She said the MID had learnt a lot from the “new approach” and those lessons would be drawn on in future.