Same old lawless behaviour

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EVERY year Ndlambe Municipality’s festive season plan is like déjà vu all over again.

Public lawlessness starts earlier every year, and the authorities do nothing about it. Last Saturday the Krantz braai area and West Beach parking lot were choc-a-block with weekend revellers, drinking openly in public and discarding bottles, cans and plastic everywhere.

Most of the revellers come from out of town and know they can get away with this behaviour here because it is not policed.

Residents expressed their displeasure on Facebook. Going to the beach is not fun when you have to mind the broken glass in the parking lot and on the beach itself. Who wants to take their kids to the beach when you have to deal with drunken louts and take the risk of your children cutting their feet?

We have written about this ad infinitum, and locals keep complaining, but nothing is done.

To be clear, there is a law against drinking in public and it is a provincial law, not just a municipal bylaw. But bylaws are nothing to scoff at anyway – they are also the law.

When the issue of public drinking and smashing bottles on the beaches and roads was raised by community representatives at a recent festive season planning meeting, the community protection services directorate gave the incredible response that there was “nothing in the municipal bylaws which prohibits taking bottles or glass onto beaches”.

There is a bylaw against littering though. Municipal officials play with words and evade the facts.

They totally avoided the fact there is a provincial law against public drinking. It is not just the municipality that is to blame here – the police have also absconded from their duty to uphold the law.

The constant refrain every year is that the New Year crowds are too large to police, as there is not enough manpower. But what about the smaller groups of weekend revellers throughout the season, leading up to New Year’s Day? The police do nothing about those either.

The municipality keeps harping on about the public drinking issue being an “educational process”, yet the ideal time to do that education – with smaller groups of weekend revellers – is squandered. If the police and bylaw compliance officer did their duties then, word would get out that this kind of behaviour is not tolerated so Ndlambe would not be a haven for drunken partying and reckless littering.

As it is, the situation gets worse and more unmanageable every year. There is not even outside backup from Public Order Police anymore.

– Jon Houzet

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