Beach safety compromised

2015-08-26 06:00
eThekwini lifeguards have not been on duty since Friday, following a protest against their manager.

eThekwini lifeguards have not been on duty since Friday, following a protest against their manager. Photo:FeverReporter

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

ETHEKWINI lifeguards have not been working since Friday. They stopped providing service in protest against beach office manager, Risky Gumede, and to demand better working conditions. According to a former employee, speaking on behalf of the lifeguards, they are reportedly being treated unfairly and being intimidated.

The former employee said the lifeguards issued complaints against Gumede­ and followed all the relevant channels to lodge their complaints to eThekwini, but have had no response. The lifeguards subsequently intend to stop their service until they are taken seriously.

Gumede has reportedly been removed from the Amanzimtoti office before after complaints against him some years ago. At that stage he was a superintendent. He however, returned to Toti after being promoted to manager.

According to the source, the lifeguards do not have lunch breaks and leave requests are not approved due to staff shortages. “There are a number of vacancies, which have not been filled,” the former employee stated.

No new lifeguard equipment has been bought since 2012 and the lifeguards do not have first-aid books. While there is no funding for equipment, last weekend Pipeline pool was upgraded with the erection of several security cameras. Reportedly a budget of R900 000 has been allocated to the manager.

The budget allegedly also does not allow the city to pay overtime and guards were reduced to one per beach as opposed to the Lifeguard SA requirement of four lifeguards per beach.

“This is putting the safety of the public at risk,” said the former employee.

According to the source, Gumede has not had a staff meeting in months, despite requests from the staff. Further grievances are that the manager is biased. “The lifeguards subscribe to two unions - those who are on the same union­ as the manager are not charged for misconduct, while workers with the other union are charged and prosecuted­.”

“We pay a lot of money to come here on holiday, so we have to take our chances and swim whether there are lifeguards or not,” said a tourist from Nelspruit on Friday.

“My first thought this morning was ‘where are the lifeguards?’. It makes me nervous that they are not here,” another tourist remarked.

Fever was unable to get comment from Gumede at the time of going to press

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.