Seven lost children reunited with families at Cape beaches thanks to tagging project

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The City of Cape Town’s Identikidz programme has tagged more than 121 335 kids this school holidays.
The City of Cape Town’s Identikidz programme has tagged more than 121 335 kids this school holidays.
  • The City of Cape Town's Identikidz programme aims to keep young beachgoers safe should they get lost on beaches.
  • The project requires parents and caregivers to register their children when they arrive at the beach.
  • So far, close to 30 000 children have already been tagged this festive season with identifying wrist bands.

Seven children have been reunited with their parents after getting lost on beaches along the Cape coastline.

Of the seven, two were separated from their families at Strand beach, three at Strandfontein, and another two at Muizenberg since the start of the festive season.

The City of Cape Town is once again continuing its successful implementation of tagging minors, through its Identikidz project, which launched in 2016, during the peak season.

According to the City, over the past few years they had major successes with the campaign with more than 100 000 children visiting beaches being tagged, while hundreds of children were reunited with their parents and caregivers because of the wrist armbands that had the guardian's contact details on it.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Patricia Van der Ross, said during the 2019-2020 festive season, 121 335 children were tagged, and 318 were reunited with their loved ones. 

The 2020-2021 festive season was cut short with the closure of beaches just after Boxing Day, which meant that the Identikidz programme was suspended.

"In the time that the project was active during the last festive season, 30 982 children were tagged, and 11 were reunited with their families," said Van der Ross. 

ALSO READ | Cape Town beachgoers urged to be cautious as sharks return to False Bay

The concept of the project required parents or caregivers to register their children as they arrived at participating beaches. 

A child will then be issued with a wristband containing their caregiver's contact details, should they get separated during their visit to the beach.

This year, the project launched on 15 December and already close to 30 000 children had been registered and tagged in its first few days of the campaign. 

Strand and Muizenberg beaches continued to be the "busiest" in terms of reunions, particularly on New Year's Day, when the beaches were bustling, added the City. 

City rolls out its Identikidz project for the festive season
Identikidz staff are ready to tag young beachgoers registered at the programme this festive season.

Van der Ross said if a child's family could not be contacted via phone, an announcement would be made via the beach's loudhailers. 

"If, by the end of the Identikidz shift, the child has still not been claimed, social workers from the provincial Department of Social Development are activated to complete track and trace of parents/primary caregivers," she added. 

One kiosk is set up for registrations, usually at the main entrance to a beach.

"Staff also do the rounds on the beach, encouraging parents to make their way to the registration desk if they have not done so already," said the City. 

Participating beaches:

Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, and Strandfontein, Gordon's Bay, Strand, Monwabisi, Harmony Park, and Mnandi, Big Bay, Sea Point, and surrounding areas, Silwerstroomstrand, Camps Bay, Lagoon Beach, Melkbosstrand, Milnerton Beach, and Maiden's Cove. 

The project is running over 16 days on the following dates:

25, 26 and 31 December 2021

1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 January 2022 on 14 of the 15 beaches

Maiden's Cove - only 26 December and 1 and 2 January 2022

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