Matric raves ‘two weeks of hell’

2008-12-12 00:00

It has been “two weeks of hell” for residents of Ballito and Umhlanga who have had to put up with throngs of boozing, out-of-control teenagers who visit the seaside towns to celebrate the end of their school careers.

These matriculants and tertiary students cause chaos with their binge drinking, drugs and wild parties at rented holiday apartments and chalets. Some teenagers have been spotted having sex on the beach.

Teenagers have kept the local police on their toes with the unruly behaviour. Umhlali South African Police Service, which monitors the Ballito area, are already investigating an assault charge stemming from an incident during which two teenagers were severely beaten by a gang of boys.

Several cases of malicious damage to property have been opened. There have also been reports of a gang of boys and girls “streaking” down a Ballito street. Several residents have seen the drunken group run around naked during the night.

The majority of the teenagers, some of which attend the country’s top schools, are sent to the “party of a lifetime” by their parents who foot the bill, yet these parents will never know the damage and inconvenience these teenagers cause to the residents, or the danger they put themselves in.

Raucous revellers have also trashed expensive holiday homes with rotten eggs, beer bottles and bricks. Residents of a block of flats were horrified when they woke up to find human faeces smeared on their front wall. The parties are so wild that many teenagers actually pass out and can be seen sleeping on the beach and on park benches.

Umhlali SAPS station Commissioner Superintendent Zandile Kunene said the teenagers’ behaviour gets worse every year and that police are called out several times a day to deal with unruly youngsters.

“It is a very stressful time of year for us. We are short-staffed and still have to deal with these children. They don’t seem to have any respect for other people,” she said.

Kunene said most of the reports are for public disturbance as the teenagers play blaring music and shout in the streets.

“We should be tackling crime, but instead we have to deal with these spoilt brats. We don’t have enough manpower so it’s very stressful,” she said.

The wild teenage parties have got so shocking that Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Cele has ordered a clampdown on them.

During the launch of the festive season’s safety plans, Cele identified Margate beach as a trouble spot where teenagers consume large amounts of alcohol at “wild” parties.

He said the area is a popular drinking spot for teenagers, who cause chaos when they are drunk.

“There will unannounced raids on nightclubs and those who admit underage children will immediately be shut down,” he said.

He said the festive season safety plans included a restriction on the availability of alcohol in these areas.

“We will not tolerate deviant behaviour from anyone,” he said.

Weekend Witness caught up with some teenagers at a party at Umhlanga Main Beach earlier this week to find out about the parties.

Adrian Pillay (18), from Gauteng, said he heard about the parties when he was in grade 10 and knew that when he completed his matric examinations he would head straight to Durban.

“After all that hard work, what better way to celebrate your freedom? The parties are great, the girls are hot and I love it,” he said.

Pillay said his parents were a bit reluctant to send him for the “party week” as they had read reports on groups of teenagers who trashed hotels and chalets.

“I told them that I would not be involved in those wild parties. I don’t want to be a part of a group that does not respect other people’s property,” he said.

His friend Arnold Viljoen agreed. He said not all teenagers behave badly while on holiday.

“We have seen some groups go mad and trash the place. They threw eggs and toilet paper on people’s front walls, and shouted in the early hours of the morning. These are the ones who give us a bad name,” he said.

Samantha Marais, a first year Law student, said the year-end trip to the beach towns is a highlight on most students’ calendars.

“It’s something we all look forward to. It’s all about letting your hair down and partying up a storm. We are caught up with assignments and tests the whole year, so this is the time for us to relax,” she said.

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