Safety is festive season priority
By Kgopi Mabotja
6 January 2012
THOUSANDS of holiday-makers experienced Buffalo City’s outdoor adventures first hand – relaxing on the beaches and cooling of at swimming pools and parks without fear of becoming victims of crime.
South African Police Services (SAPS) spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Mtati Tana said Buffalo City was safeguarded from every corner throughout the festive season and those who broke the law were arrested.
"During the New Year's celebrations, 28 people were arrested for drunken driving in East London alone.
"The police were very busy this weekend and the arrests come from a joint operation between the SAPS and the Buffalo City metro law enforcement," said Tana.
To further tighten safety, a joint operations centre comprising the metro disaster management unit, law enforcement and traffic, the SAPS, and the provincial departments of transport and social development was set up at the beach front.
Traffic and parking
In addition, the City had a master plan to alleviate traffic congestion. Marshals have been hired to control beach parking until 11 January, to allow controlled access and parking for all. They also ensure there is clear access for emergencies, according to Buffalo City spokesman, Keith Ngesi.
No-go areas for vehicles from the 31 December until 2 January were implemented around Gonubie, Bonza and Nahoon beaches.
He reported that lifeguards were always on stand-by to attend to emergencies and to ensure the safety of swimmers. Lifeguards are on duty from 7am to 6pm at all swimming beaches, and additional lifeguards have also employed.
The City's manager of public safety, Steve Terwin, said: "A decrease in crime can be attributed to the prior planning and then the execution of an integrated operational plan by all law enforcement agencies and relative role players.
"[The municipality's] planning is such that it includes the exodus of holiday-makers from the area. This planning extends to include the opening of schools."
On the roads, traffic officers cross the city and the province had their job cut out for them, according to a report released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation. In all, 3 338 vehicles were stopped and screened between the 26 and 31 December.
In addition, 685 traffic notices were issued and 28 vehicles were discontinued. During the same time period, 18 arrests were made – three for drunken driving, 12 for overloading, one for an invalid driving licence, and two for false documents.
No arrests involving excessive speeding, or reckless and negligent driving were reported.
With the holiday season drawing to a close, the City is faced with the mammoth task of cleaning up beaches and other public spaces. But Ngesi said it was equal to the task.
"To ensure cleanliness on the beach fronts, [the metro] bought refuse trucks and will also reinforce its cleaning stuff along the beach front with extra personnel," he said, adding that there would be two shifts every day until 15 January.