As the holiday season approaches, residents of the coastal suburb of Blythedale, on the KZN north coast, are concerned that chaos will ensue once revellers descend on the beach come December.
Their worries are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the possibility of a second wave.
According to Blythedale residents, “absolute chaos” ensues annually, trash lines the streets, loud music rings out until the early hours and rowdy revellers show no regard for the beach, the environment or the residents.
They say scenes of obscenity including drunken brawling, illegal drug use and sexual acts can be seen from their homes.
In addition, getting to and from their homes is an extended exercise in patience as vehicles, including taxis and buses, gridlock the already narrow roads.
Resident Jodi Chetty said while the masses that are expected have not yet arrived, noise from the beach parking lot can be heard all hours already.
“We deal with this every year and every year the residents are short changed. There is no control once the people get to the beach parking lot. Despite law enforcement implementing roadblocks and stop and searches, somehow alcohol makes its way in and drunken parties become the order of the day and night.”
She added that in 2016, a man died after he was stabbed on the beach.
Emergency services were unable to reach the man in time due to numerous taxis parked on the road, completely blocking off all entrance and exit points, she said.
Another resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said with the Covid-19 pandemic, they are fearful that the thousands who gather will spread the virus adding to the numbers and perpetuating a second wave.
“How will the Covid-19 regulations be maintained during this time? It seems impossible to successfully police thousands in these open areas and make sure they are wearing masks and social distancing. We know it is not going to happen and that is frightening.”
KwaDukuza SAPS spokesperson Priya Nunkumar said police, together with local authorities, will be working together for multi-disciplinary operations.
“This is in an effort to curb the excessive drinking in public during the festive season. The multi-disciplinary operations will be in place to allow beach goers and residents of the area to be safe and crime free. We urge the community to take precautions during the festive season and be responsible as well.”