November 28 2013 at 03:03pm By LAUREN ANTHONY
Durban - Coastal resorts are bracing themselves for the upcoming Matric Rage which will see thousands of party-seeking youngsters flooding KwaZulu-Natal’s shores looking for ways to let loose after months of stress and studying.
uMhlanga and Ballito will once again be hubs of activity starting this week and ending on December 8 to be replaced by annual holidaymakers.
The partying officially starts on Saturday although with the majority of pupils finishing their English Paper on Monday the GP number plates could be trickling in early.
However, residents do not need to despair because, besides the organisation behind Matric Rage which is now very well organised, these teenagers will be bringing a major boost to the local economy.
uMhlanga Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP) project co-ordinator Brian Wright said restaurants, bars and accommodation facilities looked forward to a financial surge.
“We’re expecting about 10 000 matriculants to KZN who will spend up to 10 days here spending an average of R1 000 a day.”
He said stakeholders, including the UIP, GnG Productions (organisers of the Vodacom 4U Rage Festival), Metro Police and Saps were finalising operations, but they didn’t foresee any problems.
“Before there was a proper operation in place about four years ago, there were problems with vandalism and anti-social behaviour. But in the last few years we’ve improved operations and structures. Last year was a highly successful event.”
He said the UIP had 12 security officers during the day, increased to 25 at night. The municipality also provided nine additional posts for the December to January period, and they’ve been integrated into the operation plan; and GnG Productions have financed an extra five security personnel.
It’s expected that 70 percent of the ragers will come from Joburg, flocking mainly to uMhlanga, with the rest, from KwaZulu-Natal, mostly staying at Ballito accommodation.
Wright said accommodation had been organised at Cabana Beach, Umhlanga Sands and some at Breaker’s Resort as well as at a number of timeshare facilities. In Ballito, Regal Inn and Life Hotel are booked out by the organisers and re-booked for ragers.
Although there are a number of official after hours venues including Origins, Cape2Cairo, Xcess and Crash nightclubs, the main Vodacom 4U Rage Festival, the Sound Factory, will be held on a private site in Ballito off Nandi Mthembu Drive.
William McIntyre, director of Vodacom 4U Rage Festival, said they had sold between about 5 000 passports to the event and expected to sell a further 2 000 more this week.
Passports, which cost between R750 and R1 800 depending on access, allow ragers to get in and out of certain events.
“This year’s line-up will be a lot bigger with 12 international artists. We’re definitely taking it to the next level.”
McIntyre said there would be 60 Quantum shuttles running on a timetable day and night for which partygoers would need to buy tokens.
“We have 40 24-hour security guards as well as an ambulance team and are assisted by the Red Frogs volunteers – a support network trained to safeguard young people.”
Pippa Rowley, the media liaison, said they had a 24/7 hotline (076 Red Frogs) and provided free pancakes and water to the ragers.
Candace van Pletzen, a Durban North resident who’s completing matric this week, said she would be staying with a group of friends at a house in Ballito within walking distance of the main venue.
“I'm going today and staying until Saturday and then I will just commute as and when I feel like it.
She said the build-up to Matric Rage had started directly after the matric dance in April.
“There’s literally been a countdown. I don't know how some of my friends focused on the exams!”
Another matriculant, Julian Janse van Rensburg, from Berea, said most of his friends would be staying in Ballito in hotels.
He said, although some would be attending parties on the South Coast, Ballito was the most popular event.
“But the whole thing is ridiculously expensive. I have a group of friends who are paying R1 500 a night each for four nights at a hotel, plus the passports are about R800 each and then there’s food and drinks. I’ll go for about three or four days, you can’t really go for longer unless you have a liver of steel!”