As the Festive Season kicks off, safety is top of mind for the Department of Tourism with an estimated R40m Tourism SA Marketing (TOMSA) levy put towards ensuring tourists have a safe and festive summer holiday.
READ:Is December the worst (and most dangerous) time of the year for load shedding?
The Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced the safety strategy plan for the festive season on 12 December 2019 - prioritising both the safety of local and international travellers alike.
"We are certain that with this plan, our guests and South Africans travelling will also have a pleasant time visiting our various attractions until their safe return home," says the minister.
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The Department launched a new Tourism Safety Plan, that will be include, most importantly, preventative measures to ensure safety through out the festive season, responsive steps to take in the event of an incident - ensuring quick and effective operational responses - as well as an aftercare programme focused on supporting any victims after an incident has occurred.
In the long term, the Tourism Monitors Programme will be remodelled so that it is linked with SAPS Community Policing Forums and Community Safety Patrollers as part of SAPS Community Policing Strategy.
Police Minister, Bheki Cele says, so far a special police unit was established to monitor people travelling from OR Tambo International.
"We believe that the public will see value in government efforts and the intervention measures implemented for this festive season. The joint effort between government and the private sector is evidenced today by these partnerships formed to deal decisively with the safety of our visitors and to ensure that South Africa remains a destination of choice," says Kubayi-Ngubane.
Festive season safety:
Emergency numbers to save on your phone:
- South African Police Service and National Emergency Response - Phone: 10111
- Phone from cell phone: 112 (automated response)
- Emergency - Ambulance - Phone: 10177
- Netcare - Phone: 0860 638 227
- Missing Children Emergency - Phone: 072 647 7464
- Sea Rescue Emergencies NATIONAL - Phone: 112 or 0870949774
For area specific numbers go here.
Beach safety from Sea Rescue South Africa:
1. Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty. Lifeguards are on duty at selected beaches between 10am and 6pm on weekends and during the week during summer school holidays. Listen to their advice and talk to them about safety on the beach that you are visiting. They are the experts on that beach. If lifeguards are not on duty do not swim.
2. Swim between the lifeguard’s flags. Teach children that if they swim between the lifeguards flags the lifeguards will be watching them and can help if there is a problem. Lifeguards watch swimmers very carefully between the flags – just wave an arm if you need help.
3. Don’t drink alcohol and then swim.
4. Don’t swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.If you are with a buddy while swimming there is someone who can call for help if you need it and you can’t wave to the lifeguards or call for help yourself.
5. Adult supervision and barriers to water are vital. Adults who are supervising children in or near water must be able to swim. This is vital if it is at a water body that does not have lifeguards on duty. It is extremely dangerous to get into the water to rescue someone so rather throw something that floats to the person in difficulty and call for help (112 from a cell phone and check for the nearest Sea Rescue station telephone number before you visit a beach – put that number into your cell phone). Children should not be able to get through or over barriers such as pool fences to water. Only use child safe pool fences and child safe pool covers or nets.
6. Know how to survive rip currents.If you swim between the lifeguard flags they will make sure that you are safe and well away from rip currents. If for some reason this is not possible do not swim. Educate yourself about rip currents, there is plenty of educational material here, including videos of what rip currents look like.
7. Don’t attempt a rescue yourself.Call a lifeguard or the NSRI by dialling 112 from your cell phone for help. If you see someone in difficulty call a lifeguard at once or dial the nearest Sea Rescue station from your cell phone. You should put this number into your phone before you go to the beach – get the emergency numbers for NSRI here or you can Google for the closest NSRI station emergency number. 112 is a good emergency number – for any emergency – to dial from your cell phone. After calling for help try and throw something that floats to the person in difficulty. A ball, a foam surf board and so on.
8. Watch children who are using floating objects, toys or tire tubes at the beach or on dams very carefully. Never use these if the wind may blow them away from the shallow water. You can very quickly get blown away from the shore and as much fun as tubes and Styrofoam are it is easy to fall off them. If a child can’t swim and falls off in deep water they will drown.
9. Do not be distracted by your cell phone or social media.While you are looking after children in or near water you need to focus on them and nothing else. Adults who are supervising children should not be distracted or use their cell phone. It is not possible to concentrate on children in the water and be on your phone at the same time.
10. Learn how to do CPR.
- Never drink and drive - always have a designated driver. The legal drink driving limit is a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per litre. So the absolute maximum of one unit of alcohol consumed per hour, which constitutes 10ml of pure alcohol. Rather just not drink anything when you know you're going to be driving. Rather safe than sorry.
- Motorists can expect to be stopped at mobile testing stations where officials will test the roadworthiness of their cars. Drivers will also be tested for alcohol levels at all road safety law enforcement activations.
- Try to avoid driving at night: Travellers are advised to plan their journeys carefully and avoid last minute rush and late night driving.
- Rainy weather, particularity currently in Gauteng, is another risk, so motorists must adjust their speed in consideration of wet road conditions.
- Take constant breaks and be sure you are fresh for your journey.
READ: Why the R40 Mpumalanga highway could be named SA's most dangerous road for travellers
- Be aware of crime hotspots along your journey, and avoid picking up hitchhikers or stopping in isolated areas.
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