CoCT concerned about drowning incidents

The City of Cape Town has expressed concern about the number of drowning incidents that occurred outside of the municipality’s designated bathing areas, or outside of lifeguard hours.

Twelve people drowned between 5 December 2023 and 22 January 2024, whilst 25 people’s lives were saved following drowning incidents. During the same period the previous year, the Department recorded 17 fatal drownings

The latest incident occurred on Monday, where a 23-year-old man from Khayelitsha drowned at Monwabisi beach.


According to figures from the City’s Recreational & Parks Department, 67% of drownings since the start of the festive season, happened on weekends or during the school holidays; 83% of victims were male; None of the victims were children younger than 15.

MMC for Community Services & Health, Patricia van der Ross, said  the loss of 12 lives remains a bitter pill to swallow.

‘’We set out each season to do the best that we can – in an ideal world, we'd want the summer to end without a single life lost. Sadly, the reality is often a different story. Statistically speaking, we have had a 29% drop in fatal drownings, but that's cold comfort to the loved ones who are grappling with the loss of their relatives,'’

‘’We are concerned about the number of incidents that have occurred outside of our designated bathing areas, or outside of lifeguard hours. I want to renew our appeal to the public to please only swim in designated areas, and when our lifeguards are on duty. They will be manning the beaches until the conclusion of the Easter weekend, so make sure that you swim only under their watch,’’ added Van der Ross.

Meanwhile, more than 130 000 children were tagged as part of the City’d Identikidz project, during the festive season. According to the City, this is the highest over the past three seasons, and the 302 reunions makes it the lowest number of children lost in the last three years.During the 2021/22 festive season, Identikidz staff assisted and tagged 98 232 children and reunited 338 with their families. During the 2022/23 festive season, 126 669 children were tagged for the duration of the project, with 403 reunited.

Most recently, staff tagged 133 730 children, with 302 reunions.

'We are incredibly proud of the Identikidz team and their achievements. They were out, weekend after weekend, in the hot sun, encouraging the public to sign up for the project. It is a mammoth undertaking, as we can see from the numbers, and their involvement in reuniting more than 300 children deserves our praise. I also want to thank the beachgoers who recognised the value that Identikidz brings, and who had their children tagged. We even had one incident where a young boy asked staff to tag his granny, after she had become separated from the family, and that is a wonderful testimonial. Thank you to everyone involved in the ongoing success of the project,' said Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia Van der Ross.

By beach, Strand emerged as the busiest location once again, with 21 536 children tagged over the six weekends, and 67 reunions. Identikidz staff also helped reunite a five-year-old child with his parents, after he walked to the beach on his own.

Strandfontein had 17 903 children tagged, and 54 reunited, while Muizenberg had 16 803 children tagged, and 42 reunions.

'As we close this chapter of Identikidz, I do want to appeal to the public to please be vigilant at all times. Summer is not over, and there'll likely be a few more beach outings still, so keep an eye on the children in your care at all times,’’ said Patricia Van der Ross, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health.


Done By: Alungile Njemla & Mitchum George


Popular Posts