Cape Town - Most Grade 12 learners finished their final examinations on Thursday, some of whom are already bracing themselves for possible post-matric exam celebrations this weekend.
The City has been left with no choice but to increase patrols at beach areas and the Central Business District – Long Street in particular.
Gatherings in these areas have increased in recent years, demonstrating that matriculants prefer to gather in public open spaces or in the CBD to celebrate the end of their final exams.
Congress of SA Students provincial secretary Mphumzi Giwu said it had been a “hectic year”, particularly for learners who have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the changing of of their study schedules.
Giwu said learners need to be vigilant when going out to the so-called “pen’s down” parties. “We are still at the peak of Covid-19, awaiting the fourth wave."
ANC provincial spokesperson on education, Khalid Sayed called on matriculants to celebrate responsibly and in a manner that would not risk the spread of Covid-19 or place their lives in danger.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said: “The end of the matric exams is finally upon us, and we understand that our learners will want to celebrate this.”
Schäfer urged learners to be aware of the fact that Covid-19 cases were on the increase once again, and that any celebrations should be done in a way that does not spread infections further.
“Avoiding crowded places with no air circulation is particularly important. If you must consume alcohol, do not drink and drive, and remember that alcohol can reduce one’s capacity to act responsibly,” she said.
Safety and Security Mayco member, JP Smith said the end of the school career is a cause for celebration, particularly the final exams. However, they have seen their fair share of celebrations go south very quickly in the past, and so he urged young people to party responsibly.
Smith said the last thing anyone wants was for such a joyous occasion to be marred by incidents of violence, injury or death related to alcohol abuse, or ending up with a criminal record.
“Our staff will keep a close eye on proceedings and while no one wants to be a party pooper, they’ll be duty-bound to act against any transgressions witnessed,” Smith said.
He said the carting and consumption of alcohol in public spaces was prohibited in terms of the City’s by-laws.
“Anyone found with alcohol will be fined R500 and have their alcohol confiscated.”
“The Disaster Management regulations will be enforced too. In recent weeks, the City’s Law Enforcement Department has seen an increase in the number of persons fined for not wearing masks or disregarding the midnight curfew,” he said.
Smith said they have asked that matriculants who plan to celebrate should take all the necessary steps to ensure a safe environment. The past year has been a difficult one, compounded by the approaching Covid-19 fourth wave.
“Matriculants should also be mindful of the possibility that opportunistic criminals will exploit these celebrations for their own selfish ends, and so they must be aware of their surroundings at all times, and not let their guard down,” he said.