Bay hails well-behaved New Year crowd

Beaches in the Metro were kept clean after New Years Day celebrations. Workers pick up litter next to Marine Drive
Picture: Werner Hills

The New Year celebrations in Nelson Mandela Bay were relatively crime- and incident-free, with police and emergency services reporting a fairly subdued start to the year despite the large turnout of revellers.

There were also no drownings reported. Colonel Priscilla Naidu, the police spokeswoman for the Mount Road Cluster policing area, which encompasses large swathes of Port Elizabeth, said the New Year period had been noticeably quieter this year.

“We will have all the official figures at the end of the season, when the schools reopen, so we cannot give out any statement as yet,” she said.

“However, we have noticed a quieter New Year celebration period this year in terms of major incidents.”

Captain Andre Beetge, police spokesman for the Motherwell area, which includes popular New Year venue St George’s Strand, said there had been no major incidents. “It was very quiet, except for a few fights. “We did not even get any reports of missing children and the crowds were mostly well behaved,” he said.

Metro Police chief Yolanda Faro praised the well-behaved crowds,

“It was quiet, not because there were no crowds, but because people were abiding by the law,” she said.

“From a safety and security perspective, we can certainly call the New Year festivities a success.

“There were no major incidents and zero drownings.

“It was a team effort, involving a number of municipal directorates, police and other role players and, of course, the people.”

Noting that the bulk of incidents involved drinking in public and illegal fires, Faro also attributed the successful celebrations to the zero-tolerance approach, the media in informing the public, and extensive planning and implementation of measures, which had started in advance of the festive season.

Explaining the team approach and involvement of the various directorates, she said: “For example, as the Metro Police, we would note and report dustbins that were overflowing or toilets at public facilities that were blocked.

This meant that these things could be sorted out as soon as possible.”

She said she had been delighted to encounter people who were enjoying themselves at the beachfront – along with their designated drivers.

“People were far more law-abiding this year and it was wonderful.”

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