Beach booze warning

2007-12-22 00:00

The eThekwini Municipality is concerned about under age drinking along the Durban beachfront over the festive season and yesterday warned liquor outlets that they will feel the full might of the law if they sell alcohol to under-18s.

This is just one of a number of key concerns that the Festive Season Management Committee (Fesmac) is tackling. It comprises representatives from different regions who co-ordinate in a bid to make the eThekwini coastline cleaner and safer by employing more lifeguards, security personnel, cleaners and beach maintenance staff.

Fesmac appealed to parents to supervise teens and younger children. Over the past long weekend, more than 80 children were taken to the lost children facility at Addington Primary School.

“Thankfully, all these children where reunited with their families. We appeal to parents and guardians to please ensure that they know where their children are at all times. The beachfront can become very busy and overcrowded during this time of year, and it is extremely traumatic for children to be lost,” said spokesman Christo Swart.

He asked visitors to throw litter in bins provided.

Swart said that a chief problem identified during the 2006 festive season was drinking and swimming at night.

Authorities are taking a firm stance on this and say this practice could lead to prosecution.

City officials also urged beach lovers to listen to lifeguards. Casuarina Beach, to the north, is not a bathing beach due to dangerous surf. Lifesavers will be stationed there to prevent people from swimming.

Beachgoers were also reminded that only gas braais are permitted on beach areas. Braaing with coal is banned because it is a safety hazard. Beachgoers will not be allowed to put up gazebos and tents with guy ropes and pegs.

Swart added: “Safety is always a cause for concern over the festive period, but both the Saps and Metro Police are confident that they have the capacity to handle the crowds through more visible policing and stricter enforcement.

“Traffic management plans have been put in place at all popular beaches to deal with the congestion that is normally experienced during the holiday period.”

City manager Michael Sutcliffe said a traffic management plan is needed to ensure the easy flow of traffic and asked motorists to be patient and to co-operate. He said Metro Police will adopt a zero- tolerance approach to drivers who flout road traffic regulations, particularly when it comes to drinking and driving.

— Witness Reporter.

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