NEW Year revellers planning to party it up in Port Alfred have been warned to behave themselves or face arrest.
With up to 30000 people expected to descend on the seaside resort for the four-day New Year break later this week, Ndlambe municipal spokesman Khulukile Mbolekwa said yesterday a zero-tolerance approach would be taken to excessive drinking and other bylaw transgressions.
“People must come to Port Alfred and have fun and enjoy themselves, but they must do it responsibly. The bylaws will be enforced when it comes to noise, littering and drinking.”
Mbolekwa said marshals had been employed to work with police to stamp out irresponsible behaviour. Large crowds were expected at Blue Flag beaches in Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea.
“We expect big crowds this year. There will be marshals all over to assist police with traffic and people control. If anyone is caught drinking in public … police will be called to deal with it.”
Besides marshals in town and along the Kowie River, extra help will also be deployed on beaches to ensure safe swimming.
Mbolekwa said boats would patrol the river and surf. Glass has also been banned from beaches to try to prevent public drinking.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Luvuyo Mjekula confirmed they were working with the municipality over New Year.
“Our plan is to ensure peaceful and safe New Year’s Day celebrations by working with members of the community and relevant stakeholders in order to prevent incidents that could compromise the safety of beachgoers and holidaymakers and disturb the peace.”
Additional police from the district would be brought in.
Port Alfred Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (Parra) chairman Ray Hicks said residents would have to wait and see if the crowd control situation was any better this year. “What can I say? I am sure it is going to be the same as previous years – we will just have to wait and see.”
He said a major concern was a lack of toilets to cope with the crowds. “It is a huge concern.”
He said the 27 toilets hired by the municipality would prove inadequate.
“We calculated 131 toilets are needed, but the municipality is cash-strapped and cannot afford to hire more.” – David Macgregor