Drinking in public chaos in BCM must be addressed

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
Shadow MEC for Safety and Security

Decisive action needs to be taken to end the upsurge of drinking in public, especially in recreational areas associated with beaches in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM).

It is not just about the broken bottles, litter and increased trauma cases, but about saving lives as Covid-19 regulations, along with the city’s by-laws, that are being flouted.

A capable state would have a multi-pronged approach to address this, that would include public education campaigns, the deployment of additional law enforcement resources to ensure by-law enforcement.

Merely calling for alcohol bans is like taking a blunt axe to the problem.

Last week I received several complaints from BCMM councillors concerning this state of affairs and raised this matter in the Safety and Security debate last week in the Legislature.

I have now compiled a series of questions to the MEC of Community Safety, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, regarding what precise and swift action will be taken to deal with this.

SEE: Attached IQP

Why is it that SAPS can effortlessly chase the surfers off the beach, but cannot deal with drinking in public and enforcing social distancing?

We all know that these gatherings have the potential to cause another upsurge in positive Covid-19 cases, with a knock-on effect on our hospitals and resulting in a further shut down of the economy.

BCMM must employ disaster management volunteers, as is provided for in terms of the Disaster Management Act, to educate and enforce social distancing at these popular spots.

Law and order officers cannot simply fold their arms when they are confronted by these large crowds. They need to deploy effective law enforcement strategies.

Roadblocks need to be set up at these drinking in public hot spots, and liquor being brought in needs to be confiscated. These practices are commonplace during the festive season and should be implemented with immediate effect.

The Democratic Alliance wants law and order to be restored to Buffalo City. We cannot allow this flagrant violation of the law to continue.