(Twitter: @eThekwini Muni)
Durban – More than 3.9 million people visited the stretches of beach on the eThekwini coastline from December 29 to January 1, the eThekwini Municipality said on Tuesday.
Malcolm Canham, chairperson of the municipality's festive season management committee, said even though there were large crowds, people were generally well behaved and there were no major incidents and drownings reported, "except for a few non-abiding members of public".
Canham said the bumper New Year long weekend was incident free as law enforcement officers, metro police, and the South African Police Services (SAPS) were out in full force.
"The troublemakers were dealt with decisively and we issued over 860 warnings for drinking in public, fighting, illegal braais and bathing in restricted areas. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable on our beaches and we are clamping down such behaviour," he said in a statement.
Canham said an additional 161 people were charged for unlicensed vehicles and parking in prohibited areas, including motorcycle lanes and disabled parking bays.
"The swift response of our law enforcement officers also resulted in the arrest of eight people for cellphone and handbag theft, and some were caught with drugs in their possession," said Canham.
Thirty-three rescues were carried out and 2 662 people received first aid treatment.
This included five people who were sent to hospital for various incidents, including near-drowning, arm dislocation and a sprained ankle, he said.
The municipality has urged parents, who were still making their way to the beach, to make sure they take their children to a child minder to be tagged. The tag includes the name of the child and contact details of the parent.
"Over 44 033 arm bands were issued to children coming to the beach. About 332 children were separated from their parents and 328 were reunited with their parents.
"Four children were taken to the overnight facility and, at present, three children are still in the custody of the municipality's child minders," he said.
Parents were requested to contact officials urgently to be reunited with their children.
"Proof of identity and relationship with the separated child is required."
The contact number for the overnight facility at the Claire Ellis Brown Pre-Primary School is 031 368 4119.
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