Child tagging returns for festive season

The Identikidz programme helps reunite lost children with their families on busy beaches during the festive season

Children visiting busy beaches this festive season will once again be issued wristbands as part of a City campaign to prevent them from getting lost.

The Identikidz programme will run at Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Big Bay, Camps Bay, Gordon’s Bay, Harmony Park, Lagoon Beach, Melkbosstrand, Milnerton, Mnandi, Monwabisi, Sea Point and surrounds, Silwerstroom, Strandfontein and Strand, from 9am to 6.30pm, on December 15, 16, 17, 23, 24, 25, 26, 30 and 31 and January 1, 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21.

Each wristband has a number linked to a caregiver’s contact details.

From December 15 last year to January 2 this year, more than 92 000 children were tagged at 16 beaches and 369 were successfully reunited with their families while 13 were handed over to the provincial Department of Social Development, according to mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross.

At Fish Hoek Beach, 3 914 children were tagged and four reunited with families, and at Muizenberg 8 701 children were tagged and 45 reunited with families.

“The statistics clearly show that the Identikidz project is valuable. They also indicate a growing trend among parents and caregivers who prioritise their children’s safety, especially during the busy festive season,” said Ms Van der Ross.

She stressed that parents were ultimately responsible for their children.

“While many children are quickly reunited with their families, there have been cases where, by nightfall, children end up in the care of social workers. In such situations, the problem escalates, leading to multiple home visits to ensure the child’s overall well-being. So, parents, please do your part. We understand that children may sometimes wander off in the crowds, but it’s unacceptable for some to remain unclaimed hours later when the beach day is over.“

Meanwhile the City will be deploying 4000 uniformed enforcement and emergency personnel across Cape Town during the festive season, according to mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

“The City is deploying 330 policing personnel dedicated to specific beaches across the city. This includes special beach joint operational centres,” he said.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the festive season policing plan included vehicle checkpoints on major routes to beaches.

“Officers will clamp down on alcohol use in public spaces, and we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour. We will also increase the use of tech such as CCTV and drones. Law Enforcement, the Fire and Rescue Service, and Disaster Risk Management volunteers will be on hand to assist with public safety and awareness.”

The City’s drowning-prevention campaign also involves deploying 340 beach lifeguards and 343 swimming pool lifeguards.

The City urged beachgoers to avoid swimming under the influence of alcohol, to never leave children unsupervised near water, to be aware of rip currents, and to always swim between the red and yellow flags.

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