Law enforcement agencies on full alert for New Year festivities

2013-12-31 09:46

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Law enforcement agencies have appealed to South Africans to abide by the law as they prepare to usher in the New Year.

The City of Cape Town says it is ready for the hundreds of thousands of people expected to descend on the city to ring in the New Year.

“Law enforcement officers will be deployed in the CBD, where the city is hosting a party on the Grand Parade to signal the start of its year as World Design Capital,” disaster management spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said in a statement yesterday.

“Other party hot spots like Long Street will also be patrolled, as well as beaches where fireworks displays will be held.”

The city expects between 150 000 and 200 000 people on the beaches on New Year’s Day.

Safety and security head Richard Bosman said: “Visitors are reminded that alcohol is not permitted on the beaches. Officers have seized nearly 5 000 bottles of alcohol from beachgoers since the beginning of the festive season.”

The City of Johannesburg said it would host a New Year’s Eve festival today at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.

Artists such as Chomee, Kelly Khumalo, Mdu, Skwatta Kamp, Arthur, Ismael, Pro Kid, Brickz, Zola, Mshoza, Mandoza, DJ AJ, Mzambiya, Mshoza, DJ Shimza and Doc Shebeleza will entertain the crowds.

“More than 10 000 party-goers are expected to attend this year’s party. The party will also include a massive 10- minute fireworks display at midnight,” said spokesman Tahir Sema.

Streets such as Miriam Makeba, Bree, Jeppe and Henry Nxumalo will be closed.

“People are strongly advised to behave responsibly. Bottled beverages, alcohol, fireworks and weapons will not be allowed in the venue,” said Sema.

Emergency services, the police and Johannesburg Metro police will be stationed across the CBD to keep an eye on revellers.

In Mpumalanga, police provincial commissioner Maj-Gen Meshack Nogwanya asked event organisers to submit their crowd management plans to their closest police station or have them ready should they be requested.

In terms of the law, an organiser must appoint a safety officer and should have a written safety plan detailing security measures, crowd management measures, motor vehicle parking and emergency medical measures, Nogwanya said.

“I therefore request co-operation from organisers of bashes and festivals to submit copies of their plans or have them ready should they be needed. Failure to comply will result in steps being taken against such an organiser.”

This was meant to prevent stampedes as a result of venues being filled beyond their capacity during New Year’s Eve celebrations, he said.

Nogwanya said the police would visit venues across the province to verify safety plans and establish whether they were filled beyond their capacity.

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