Joburg celebrates New Year safely, colourfully

Joburg celebrates New Year safely, colourfullyThe annual Joburg Carnival celebrates the City's rich cultural diversity. (Photo: @CityofJoburgZA)

Residents saw the New Year in safely and colourfully in both inner city Joburg and Soweto on Thursday and Friday, with well-organised festivities starting with a rainbow-hued Joburg Carnival and culminating in a spectacular professional fireworks display.

The Carnival got the streets of Hillbrow, Braamfontein and Newtown abuzz with excitementThe Carnival got the streets of Hillbrow, Braamfontein and Newtown abuzz with excitement ahead of the afternoon activities and evening concert. (Photo: @CityofJoburgZA)The free celebrations laid on by the City of Joburg spanned four stages at three venues - Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown Park and the Soweto Theatre - and included a world-class lineup of local and international artists.

Joburgers in their thousands turned out to enjoy live performances from the likes of Lira, Tortured Soul (USA), Mafikizolo, Black Coffee, Kwesta, Femi Koya (Nigeria), The Muffinz, The General (Zimbabwe), Arthur Mafokate, Busiswa, DJ Cleo, DJ Zinhle, DJ Shimza, Twins on Deck and many more.

To encourage residents to take pride in their city while coming together to celebrate its pulsating energy and diversity, the City made sure to cater for families as well as music lovers, providing a range of activities for both children and adults, topped off with a magnificent fireworks display managed by professional pyrotechnicians.

World-class lineup of local and international artistsA world-class lineup of local and international artists set the night alive at three different venues. (Photo: @CityofJoburgZA)The New Year's Eve countdown festival was preceded by the Joburg Carnival, which reflected the City's melting-pot of different cultural traditions with a kaleidoscopic procession from Hillbrow, through the streets of Braamfontein, across the Mandela Bridge and into Newtown.

With bottled beverages, alcohol, fireworks and weapons prohibited at all three venues, and law enforcement officials and emergency management staff out in numbers throughout, the festivities went off without any major unlawful incidents.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesman Wayne Minnaar said joints operations throughout the city with the SA Police Service, Emergency Management Services and Disaster Management Services had resulted in a significant reduction in unlawful incidents compared to previous years.

Concertgoers at Mary Fitzgerald SquareConcertgoers show their appreciation at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown. (Photo: @CityofJoburgZA)A major communication drive by the City, encouraging communities to change their approach to celebrating the New Year, also had the desired effect, with Minnaar reporting "a drastic improvement in behaviour" on the part of the public.

Roadblocks were mounted and door-to-door searches conducted in Hillbrow and other hotspots to ensure that people respected the law, and blitzes were conducted throughout the city to prevent the illegal sale of fireworks.

On New Year's Day, parks including Florida Lake, Rhodes, Little Falls and Zoo Lake were also heavily patrolled to ensure by-law compliance and improved security for all park users.

The fireworks spectacular was managed by professional pyrotechniciansThe fireworks spectacular was safely managed by professional pyrotechnicians. (Photo: @CityofJoburgZA)Minnaar commended the JMPD's officers for their "tireless dedication" over the festive season, especially in light of recent media reports claiming that officers were on strike.

"JMPD management want to extend their heartfelt thanks to officers for their unwavering dedication and commitment to their work by not heeding the calls of unscrupulous [people] to embark on an illegal work stoppage," he said. "Management is ready and willing to discuss any grievances with officers and unions as per our open-door policy for negotiations."