Spotlight on beach safety

* Fish Hoek beach

Various law-enforcement agencies and civic groups will be working together this festive season to keep the far south safe and tourist friendly.

Traffic, City law enforcement and the Metro police are part of the crime-prevention plan, says

Wayne Dyason, spokesman for City law enforcement.

Crime patterns will be monitoredandextraresources deployed where needed, he said, adding that the popular St James catwalk would be one such spot.

“Areas will be policed in a consistent manner, but also in accordance with the particular problems they experience,” he said.

Kalk Bay and St James civic leader Tony Trimmel said the collaboration among the civic groups, SAPS, law enforcement, and various City departments last year had worked well. There should be no problems coping with the expected influx in visitors if that could be repeated, he said.

Mr Trimmel is the chairman of the Kalk Bay/St James Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association and director of the special ratings area.

“During the past month, we have been in discussion with SAPS, law enforcement, traffic services, coastal management, local security service providers, the Kalk Bay Business Association and the office of our local councillor Aimee Kuhl, to prepare for the 2018/2019 holiday period,” he said.

Mr Trimmel said they backed SAPS’s request to close liquor outlets in Kalk Bay and Muizenberg on December 26 and January 1 next year.

Mr Trimmel asked beach-goers to be responsible citizens and take their waste with them after enjoying a day out.

“The mountains above Kalk Bay are also of great concern to us. Always hike in the company of others, and don’t leave any parcels or valuable items in cars left unattended,” he said.

Regular neighbourhood watch patrols in the Kalk Bay/St James area would continue during the coming weeks, he said.

“The general public are advised to report suspicious activities including poaching of the marine resources along our coastal strip,” he said.

Muizenberg Lakeside Residents’ Association chairwoman Catherine Dillon said volunteers were needed to man the venue operation centre (VOC) from which all safety and security operations are controlled and managed.

“Volunteers are required in the VOC, on the road, beaches and along Zandvlei and while it is very satisfying serving the community, it is hard work.

“Refreshments are critical for keeping volunteers hydrated and sandwiches, fruit etc to help sustain one’s energy level,” she said.

Muizenberg Improvement District manager Chevone Petersen, said it usually had two foot patrollers and a patrol car operating in the area 24/7, but those resources would be doubled for day shifts and some night night shifts.

A team was also working with Metrorail to ensure regular patrols were done between Muizenberg and False Bay Station, inside the railway reserve.

Ocean View police spokesman Sergeant Leon Fortuin said only 10% of their staff would be on leave during the festive season to ensure they had enough hands on deck.

They had arranged various holiday programmes with the community police forum, neighbourhood watches and the trauma room, the Department of Social Development, Community Cohesion, Living Hope and the Ocean View Library to keep children busy during the holidays.

“We have also worked out an overtime roster to work extra hours doing beach patrols, road blocks and searching premises,” he said.

Kommetjie beach including Soetwater and Witsand are within their precinct. Those beaches, he said, got very busy over the holidays and Metro police and law enforcement had been asked to help with extra manpower to patrol them.

Over the festive season, beachgoers can expect shark spotters to be on duty at eight City beaches from Wednesday December 12 to Monday, January 7.

These beaches include Muizenberg, St James/Kalk Bay, Caves in Kogel Bay, Glencairn, Clovelly, Monwabisi and The Hoek in Noordhoek.

The spotters will operate between 8am-6pm for most beaches except Fish Hoek which will be 7am to 6.45pm and The Caves, Kogel Bay where the sharkspotters finish at 5pm instead.

“While the shark spotters and the Fish Hoek exclusion net are important safety measures, I want to urge beachgoers to be vigilant when going into the ocean and to adhere to the warnings from the shark spotters. White sharks are present in our ocean and, by going into the water, there is a small possibility of encountering one of these animals,” said Felicity Purchase, Mayco member for transport and urban development.