Law enforcement agencies had their hands full as thousands of people flocked to Cape Town’s public pools and beaches over the weekend.
As the festive season got into full swing, there was not a road along the coast that was not congested at some point yesterday, with provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa warning motorists to practice safe driving.
He said nine people were killed on the province’s roads, and 53 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Among them was a motorist found to be five times over the legal limit on the N2 at Steenbras Dam, Grabouw.
By midday, yesterday Boulders Beach had to be closed as it reached capacity, while parking areas at Cape Point filled up rapidly early in the day.
National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon urged bathers to be cautious.
“The NSRI appeals to the bathers to only swim at beaches protected by lifeguards, swim in between the lifeguard posted flags, and only swim during the lifeguard beach stand-by times.
“Caution is advised in and around inland waters, rivers, lakes, and dams, and swimming pools should have childproof covers and child-proof surrounding fences,” said Lambinon.
Increased manpower has been deployed by metro officials and police across the province, as the influx of people is expected to continue over the coming weeks.
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said they expected record numbers of beachgoers on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
“Similar numbers can be expected on any given hot day over the next two weeks. Beachgoers should tag their children at the beaches where the Identikidz programme is active,” he said.
The biggest beach turnouts are usually at Strand and Muizenberg.
“Muizenberg may expect around 90000 visitors. These are our two biggest turnout beaches while Strandfontein is one of the smaller turnout beaches. We always prepare for the maximum capacity.
“However, the weather forecast for the next week appears, at this stage, to be less than ideal. But we know that Cape Town is notorious for four seasons in one day, so we’ll have to wait and see on the days what the weather holds.
“In the event that the forecast holds, it’s likely that we won’t see the record numbers of visitors to our beaches that we generally expect at this time of year, but our staff will be ready for deployment nonetheless,” Smith said.
The SA Weather Service predicted clear skies over the Mother City today.
SANParks spokesperson Lauren Howard-Clayton said Boulders Beach was reopened just before 2 pm as tides had changed.
A free shuttle service by SANParks will also be available for visitors at Rooikrans – a popular fishing spot.
“The Rooikrans satellite parking area will be available as overflow parking for Cape Point up to Sunday, January 5. There will be buses available to transport visitors to and from Rooikrans and they’ll run free.”
Mayco member for community services Zahid Baroodien confirmed that they had increased the number of public swimming pools open to the public to 28. Initially, only 16 facilities were opened while others underwent repairs.