Parktown – With 2020 right on our doorsteps, the SAPS in Gauteng, together with other law enforcement agencies, will be on high alert and monitoring closely from this morning, to ensure that both planned an unplanned New Year’s Eve celebrations across the Province, run smoothly and the public enjoy the evening, bringing in the New Year safely.

New Year’s Eve celebrations are characterised by fireworks 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 rands from various shops. In Eesterust on Monday, 30 December 2019, police seized fireworks from an unlicensed trader after the community complained about the shop selling to children as young as seven-years-old.

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 events run smoothly with as minimum incidents as possible.

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

Police will also be patrolling the streets in places like Hillbrow, Johannesburg Central, Soweto, Pretoria Central, 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 Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela together with the provincial senior management team, will this evening visit a number of operations and events to ensure that the members on deployment are operationally capacitated to police the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In assuring the public of safe and secure celebrations, Lt General Mawela said, “We want everyone celebrating in Gauteng, whether outdoors or in the comfort of their homes, to have a good time. Every resident’s safety and security is our top priority. 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.”

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 cover to commit 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.

Source: South African Police Service