Plan to keep beaches safe and clean during holidays

Thousands of visitors will soon be visiting Muizenberg Beach for the festive season.

With thousands of holiday makers expected to descend on our beaches in less than a week, the City of Cape Town has implemented a comprehensive beach plan to ensure a safe, clean and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

And with beach attendance reaching a peak of more than 100 000 people a day, mayoral committee member for area south, Eddie Andrews said the main focus of the City’s beach plan is road and beach safety.

As the peak season started on Friday December 1, the City has deployed 10 permanent lifeguards and 270 seasonal lifeguards at the various beaches between 10am and 6pm and in addition, more than 1 000 volunteer WP Lifesaving lifeguards will also be on duty over weekends during the peak season.

Mr Andrews said of the 270 seasonal lifeguards, 49 will be deployed to Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, Muizenberg, Danger Beach and Sunrise Beach over the peak season.

He said in terms of beach safety, the City’s Recreation and Parks Department services 47 beaches along its 307 kilometre coastline, 19 tidal pools and 14 resorts.

Ten beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status for the 2017/2018 season which is between December 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018.

These beaches include Fish Hoek, Strandfontein, Muizenberg and Mnandi.

He said the Recreation and Parks Department has also partnered with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to provide additional rescue services along the Cape Town coastline, with the establishment of two additional satellite bases at traditional hotspots, namely Strand and Monwabisi.

The Shark Spotters have also launched their mobile application to alert users of recent sightings and in the event of beach closures and will be deployed at Muizenberg Corner, Fish Hoek, St James/Kalk Bay, The Hoek, Noordhoek, Glencairn, and Clovelly.

And while visitors enjoy a memorable time at the beach, City employees will be hard at work behind the scenes.

Mr Andrews said the City’s Solid Waste Management Department has a festive season beach, scenic routes and business areas cleansing programme that is designed to implement extra top-up cleaning services covering all main business areas, scenic routes and beaches throughout the metropole.

This includes the provision of contract staff to complement the permanent staff, especially between Christmas and New Year. A total of 2 373 temporary staff members will be deployed in the identified areas and will provide the required additional capacity during this period. The programme will further include litter removal from all beaches, rocks and grassed areas and on the main recreational beaches, it will also include provision and servicing of bins, sweeping of parking areas and adjacent beach roads as well as cleaning of staircases where required.

Provision will also be made for the removal of dead seals that tend to wash up along the Strandfontein coast at this time of year while the cleaning of beach toilets and shower areas will remain the responsibility of the Recreation and Parks Department. “We are also working closely with the SAPS who is the primary agency responsible for crime prevention and provide support as and when they require it,” Mr Andrews said.

Muizenberg police spokesman, Captain Stephen Knapp said although the festive season should be a time of enjoyment and relaxation, it is a time when criminals seize the opportunity and therefore crime usually increases.

With this in mind, he said the Muizenberg SAPS are urging all visitors and residents to be vigilant; never to leave your possessions unattended; not to leave your motor vehicle keys unattended; report any suspicious characters to the police and ensure that you memorise a complete description of the suspect; not to leave children unattended and to always keep a watchful eye on them.

He said visitors and residents should remember that alcohol and other glass containers are not allowed on the beach. Hikers, he said, should never hike alone and always stay in a group and never hike after dark. “Be wary of strangers and don’t take unnecessary valuables on your hike, leave valuables in your car or leave demarcated hiking routes,” he said.