Internal Affairs

Mayor Hill-Lewis hails multi-agency effort to ensure safer beaches for all over festive season

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis visited the Strand beach and public pool today to view the various initiatives the City has in place to ensure the public and visitors are able to safely enjoy Cape Town’s beaches this festive season. Law Enforcement, life-guarding and the Identikidz programme have all contributed to a successful festive season on Cape Town beaches and at community public pools. Despite the immense impact of sustained high-stages of load-shedding on City sewer pump stations and related infrastructure, quick responses by City teams have meant that, of Cape Town’s 300km coastline, just 1,4km was subjected to temporary precautionary closures due to sewer spills resulting largely from electrical faults and illegal dumping. As of today, all of Cape Town’s beaches are open and available for all to enjoy, save for a section at Gordon’s Bay due to reopen soon. Read more below.
At Strand Beach, the Mayor observed the City’s multi-agency efforts which have been rolled out at 29 beaches, tidal pools and coastline stretches this festive season with the support of over 4 000 uniformed staff. The Mayor was joined by Mayco members JP Smith (Safety) and Patricia van der Ross (Community Services and Health).
‘I would like to thank every City official working over the festive season to ensure a safe and fun experience for all in Cape Town, especially on our busy beaches, which are the heart of our bustling tourist economy. In Strand alone, officials estimate that hundreds of thousands of people visited this beach, which is great for the economy, businesses and traders around here. It is good to see Strand beach looking lively today after a section was temporarily closed due to an electrical fault at a sewer pump station. Sustained load-shedding continues to impact City infrastructure, as does discharge of foreign items into the sewer system. Where these incidents occur, we put safety first by effecting temporary precautionary closures until water quality results show it is safe for recreational use. Quick responses from our teams has enabled us to keep 99% of our coastline open and safer for all at any time,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.
A multi-disciplinary team ensured responsive management to incidents amid heightened load-shedding on sewer infrastructure, including professionals representing Environmental Management, Coastal Management, Water and Sanitation, City Health, Recreation and Parks, Law Enforcement and Urban Waste Management.

The City’s priority programme to clean up waterways and public places will see at least an R8 billion investment in water and sanitation infrastructure over the next three years, including more generators and measures to build resilience against the impact of load-shedding.

‘It is vitally important that we sustain momentum to end load-shedding over time in Cape Town. Even generators are not a fail-safe mechanism to protect our basic service infrastructure, as these can also fail in sustained higher load-shedding phases. We are aiming to protect Capetonians from up to four stages of load-shedding within this term through various measures. This includes buying independent power to lessen Eskom reliance, paying businesses and residents to sell power back to the City, and incentives for voluntary energy savings under our Power Heroes programme,’ said the Mayor.

370 children reunited with families on beaches; 6 700 litres of alcohol confiscated

The Mayor further observed the City’s Identikidz programme in action today, which seeks to prevent children and parents from being separated on busy beaches. Identikidz has tagged more than 90 000 children at participating beaches since its launch in mid-December, reuniting around 370 children with their families. A further 13 children were placed in the care of the Provincial Department of Social Development when night fell and their families could still not be reached. A staggering 65% of reunions happened over the New Year’s long weekend.
The City further ensured the availability of 21 public swimming pools despite the national chlorine shortages, from Sea Point to Khayelitsha. Lifeguard deployments at these facilities helped to ensure there were no fatal drownings recorded this festive season.

Lifeguards were also deployed to 29 beaches, tidal pools, and coastline stretches, assisted by Western Province Lifesaving, City enforcement services, the NSRI and the City’s Beach Buddies, among others. A total of nine fatal drownings have been recorded since September 2022.

City law enforcement agencies have been hard at work maintaining order and upholding by-laws to ensure public places are safer for all. Alcohol confiscations on beaches increased year-on-year, with over 18 500 bottles and 6700 litres of alcohol from 1 Dec 2022 – 2 Jan 2023, up from 4 800 litres last season.

In total, more than 4 000 uniformed staff such as Metro Police, lifeguards, Law Enforcement, Traffic officers and firefighters helped to ensure the wellbeing of residents and tourists.

Across the City, enforcement agencies made 1291 arrests and 33 guns off our streets, with 22 of these guns confiscated by officers linked to the Law Enforcement Advancement Programme (LEAP) to expand safety resources in crime hotspots, together with the Western Cape Government.

The City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre played a pivotal role in coordinating the overall response to high stages of load-shedding experienced in December, as well as the City’s multi-agency Festive Season Coordinating Committee.
A total of 415 staff members and DRMC volunteers were deployed to beaches and major events including sporting events, festivals and the Tweede Nuwejaar and Cape Malay road marches.

Source: City Of Cape Town