Cape Town - While the DA and the City had called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to end the curfew before New Year’s Eve, plans have been put in place to ensure citizens welcome 2022 safely.
Premier Alan Winde asked the public to remain vigilant of the invisible enemy, Covid-19, while the numbers in the province remained high as we entered the New Year.
“I wish every resident of the Western Cape a safe and happy new year. It has been a very tough 2021, and I, like many others, hope that the year ahead will bring more happiness and prosperity to residents across our province. Please remember to be safe during this time, as the number of active Covid-19 cases in the province remains high.”
Byron La Hoe of the province’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) said they were working in collaboration with the various departments to keep the City operational and safe while dealing with trauma.
“From an EMS perspective, we respond to on average 60 000 calls between 15 December-January 15 in the Western Cape. In line with the EMS festive season operational plan, we are working collectively with other organisations, namely: SAPS, Traffic, WCG Air Mercy Services, Private Ambulance Services, Disaster Management, Fire Department, Sea Rescue (NSRI), Forensic Pathology Services and other voluntary organisations.”
Traffic officials are now bracing themselves for the increase or decrease in road deaths, which stood at 15.82 last year.
According to the data by the Western Cape Public Works and Transport, fatality statistics from December 1, 2019, till January 15, 2020, had 160 fatalities compared to 207 deaths in 2018.
This was a reduction of 23 percent in overall road fatalities for the province.
MEC for Transport and Public Works Daylin Mitchell officially launched the 2021/22 festive season safety plan earlier this month and said there was a reduction in road deaths but was concerned about road users alcohol intake.
“In 2020, the death rate on our roads stood at 15.82. “This is a reduction of 46%, a significant marker of how much safer our roads have become,” he said.
He also revealed the province’s 500 habitual offenders for traffic have been placed on a hot list and has placed strategic plans in place to manage fatigue on the roads.
His department recorded a total of 35 crashes, and 55 fatalities were recorded between December 20 and December 27 and implemented 190 roadblocks which saw 5873 fines issued.
“I am seriously concerned about the high number of drunk drivers arrested last week. An error of judgement may mean killing or injuring someone on the road in another vehicle or in your own vehicle. The mistake you make in a moment could lead to a lifetime of regret,” he added.
Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith confirmed a total of 900 firefighters were on standby.
“Approximately 900 firefighters could be called upon for major incidents, working on a three-shift rotational system, where between 190 and 230 firefighters are on duty every 24-hour period, 365 days of the year.
“They are based at our 32 fire stations spread across the city.
“In addition, the service has acquired aerial support in the form of two helicopters and a spotter plane. It is further supported by seasonal firefighters as well as an additional 22 firefighters who recently graduated after completing their training.”
DA leader John Steenhuisen had called on the president to end curfew before New Year’s. “The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to end the curfew before New Year’s Eve.
“The DA has never supported the curfew, as we have never found it to be a rational or justifiable denial of freedom. But now more than ever, we believe it should be lifted once and for all and before New Year’s Eve.
“National morale needs a boost too. People should be able to legally come together with friends and family to celebrate the start of 2022 and the end of an incredibly tough 2021.”
Mayco member for Economic Growth James Vos also called on the curfew to end for economic purposes.
“I will continue to engage with sectoral leaders and organisations, such as restaurant groups, the South African Informal Traders Alliance (SAITA), hospitality associations such as the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) and others, to join our call to end curfew.”
The presidency has yet to respond to Weekend Argus’ queries on this view.
Mayco member for Community Services and Health Patricia Van der Ross asked residents to be vigilant around swimming pools on New Year’s Day after drownings took place over the Christmas weekend.
A 10-year-old boy tragically drowned.
“On Christmas Day, a 10-year-old boy drowned at the Camps Bay tidal pool. The City expresses its heartfelt condolences to his family during this difficult time.
“Parents, do not send your children to the swimming pools without adult supervision, and when they are in the water, make sure you can see them.”