Image via: Adobe Stock

Gauteng police on high alert for New Year’s Eve celebrations

Gauteng police said that they will have their eyes peeled for any unexpected surprises during New Year’s Eve celebrations in the province.


Image via: Adobe Stock

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Gauteng released a statement on 31 December, saying that they will be on high alert to ensure that any New Year’s Eve celebrations go off without a hitch. 

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said that with 2020 on our doorstep, it is pivotal to make sure that celebrations across the province run smoothly. 

Peters said they want “the public to enjoy the evening” and “bring in the new year safely”.

Fireworks confiscated 

As the first point of call, the police have confiscated fireworks and will continue to do so for the safety of the community. 

According to the statement, New Year’s Eve celebrations are characterised by firework displays, where the sale thereof and the display in most cases, are found to be in contravention of municipal by-laws. 

“To this end, police have during Safer Festive Season operations confiscated fireworks worth tens of thousands of rand from various shops,” said Peters. 

In Eersterust on Monday 30 December, police seized fireworks from an unlicensed trader after the community complained about the shop selling to children as young as seven years old.

According to the police, a number of ticketed events will be hosted, some of which are already sold out. Police have been involved and working closely with event organisers to ensure that these firework display events run smoothly, with as little incidents as possible.

Police to come down hard on drunk drivers 

Police suggest that celebrating at home is much safer than being out on the street, where one is more susceptible to crime. 

“Many other New Year’s Eve celebrations will be held in restaurants, bars, parks, and other places of entertainment across Gauteng. This should not and does not mean that people cannot celebrate New Year’s Eve in the comfort of their homes, which is the safer option in as far as exposure to crime is concerned,” said Peters. 

“That said, the public is warned that police will show no mercy to those caught driving while under the influence of alcohol,” he added. 

Police to patrol problem areas 

Police will also be patrolling the streets in places, such as Hillbrow, Johannesburg Central, Soweto, Pretoria Central and Mamelodi, in an effort to prevent crime and disorder. While revellers in these places have been notorious for unruly behaviour in the past, this changed in the recent three festive seasons where minimum incidents were reported due to high police visibility.

Gauteng commissioner will inspect operations

Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela, together with the provincial senior management team, will on 31 December visit a number of operations and events to ensure that the deployed members are operationally capacitated to police the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In assuring the public of safe and secure celebrations, Mawela said: “We want everyone celebrating in Gauteng, whether outdoors or in the comfort of their homes, to have a good time”.

“Our members will be out and about to deter criminals and keep crowds safe, but we need you to look after yourself and those around you as well,” he added. 

The public is urged to remain vigilant and aware of their immediate surroundings during the celebrations, as criminals are opportunistic and sometimes use crowds as a cover to commit a crime.

Report any suspicious persons or activities by calling the Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or by sending a tip-off on the MySAPS app that can be downloaded onto any smartphone.