Safe holiday season pledge from council

Mkhululi Ndamase

ALCOHOL abuse and under-age drinking will not be tolerated this festive season, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality says.

The warning was issued as the season was launched by the municipality with the theme “Feel The Beat, Feel the Heat” at Cubana Cocktail Bar in Humewood last night.

Recreation and cultural services portfolio chairwoman Babalwa Lobishe said tourism was one of the Bay’s key economic drivers.

“The NMB, private sector, local structures and communities need to work together towards tourism development.”

She said it was imperative to realise the full potential tourism could have on the economy.

“Our success in achieving favourable outcomes this summer season will in [a] large part be due to the diligent work of the directorate of economic development, recreation and sport and the welcoming attitude of all residents,” Lobishe said.

She also urged the hospitality industry to up its game.

Lobishe said the festive season also brought about danger.

“It is time to take care and be vigilant. We will take every possible precaution to ensure safety and move in full swing to protect residents and visitors.”

Lobishe said systems were in place to ensure tourists and residents were safe. “Alcohol abuse, underage drinking, pedestrian safety, enforcing the use of seat belts and combating drinking and driving are some of the key messages this summer season.”

Before the launch there was a demonstration by lifeguards to highlight the municipality doubling its lifeguard numbers for the season.

Soul Good has been contracted by the metro to manage summer season events for the next three years.

Project manager Darren Mungur said: “The planning of various summer season events is at an advanced stage in terms of administrative procedures and implementation.”

Some of the upcoming festival events include:

ýThe opening of the summer season at Hobie Beach on December 16;

ýThe Cell C IRB Sevens Tournament at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this weekend;

ýEmayhuyhu Diva Jazz and Soul Festival on December 26 and 28 at the Jabavu Stadium in Uitenhage; and

ýThe Wells Estate New Year’s celebrations on December 31 and January 1 at St George’s Strand.

The Africa Cup of Nations was also identified as one of the highlight of the year ahead.

“We must buy tickets as we did with the World Cup,” Lobishe said.

She added: “The season will not catch us off guard in terms of providing safety to our citizens and tourists.

“We are ready to receive tourists to the city,” Lobishe said.

The launch was attended by some councillors.

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