The safety of residents and visitors in the during the festive season is under the spotlight as police probe two deaths following the city’s annual switching on of the lights event.
Safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith said around 39 000 people attended the event at the Grand Parade on Sunday without a major incident reported.
We previously reported that a bicycle shop was looted hours after the event, causing damage worth R170 000.
Smith said he subsequently learnt that the police were investigating two deaths in the CBD around the same time.
Western Cape police confirmed that they found an unknown man with multiple stab wounds in Government Avenue around 03:30 on Monday.
The avenue runs through Company’s Garden, a green lung for the city that is a popular spot for local and international tourists, families and schoolchildren.
Victims believed to be locals
In the second incident, a 16-year-old was stabbed around 06:05 on Monday and taken to a hospital in Sea Point by strangers, said Van Wyk.
He died as a result of his injuries.
Police are investigating the circumstances around the deaths.
A well-placed source who did not want to be identified told us that both victims were believed to be locals who had travelled to the festive lights event from other parts of the City of Cape Town.
Speaking about the Government Avenue incident, the source said “it looks like it may have been aggravated robbery but [it is] not confirmed”.
The CBD has several CCTV cameras whose footage is fed to the City’s “Cyclops” control room.
Cape Town Metro Police spokesperson Sergeant Ruth Solomons told us today that the body found in Government Avenue had been out of the viewing range of the camera.
“So there is unfortunately no footage of the murder but SAPS is investigating the murder with what they found on scene (evidence),” she said.
Additional security over festive season
The Central City Improvement District (CCID) said the area was managed by the city but it offered additional security.
Safety and security manager Muneeb Hendricks said CCID would deploy 10 additional public safety officers in the CBD over the festive season to increase visibility and launch its “Stash It Don’t Flash It” campaign to educate visitors on safety tips.
The CCID currently provides five public safety officers, along with an average of 10 “chrysalis” students. There were also two public safety kiosks within the garden.
Smith said the reality was that any large public access event was likely to attract criminal elements.
The city’s enforcement staff confiscated a number of dangerous weapons during the festive event including imitation firearms and knives.
They also confiscated 407 bottles of alcohol.
He said police indicated at least 15 cases of robbery were registered at Cape Town Central police station, and five arrests were made in relation to these cases.
The safety and security directorate would hold a debriefing session and also liaise with the police to see if anything could have been done to prevent the deaths.