Blue Flag season officially opened

2015-11-19 06:00
At the hoisting of the Blue Flag at Dolphin Beach on Friday were (from left) Ward 7 Councillor Bulelwa Koliti, Social Services Portfolio Councillor Thandeka Maseti, Jakkie Pieters from APD and his care-giver Sonnyboy Mahlangu, Executive Mayor Daphne

At the hoisting of the Blue Flag at Dolphin Beach on Friday were (from left) Ward 7 Councillor Bulelwa Koliti, Social Services Portfolio Councillor Thandeka Maseti, Jakkie Pieters from APD and his care-giver Sonnyboy Mahlangu, Executive Mayor Daphne

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THE prestigious Blue Flag went up again at Kouga’s Dolphin Beach on Friday, giving the tourist spot another nod as part of the elite group of beaches.

At the flag ceremony Kouga Executive Mayor Daphne Kettledas thanked all stakeholders for the different roles they played in ensuring the retention of the status.

“It is our sincere hope that, going forward, we will be able to work together even more closely to look after our beachfront as a whole. It is our greatest tourist attraction and key in our efforts to grow our local economy,” said Kettledas.

Dolphin Beach is one of 24 beaches in South Africa to get the thumbs up for the 2015/16 season, setting it apart as one of the few that guarantee pristine waters for bathing, a safe environment for visitors and accessible facilities for the disabled.

Jakkie Pieters of the Association for the Physically Disabled (APD) applauded Kouga for having one of the most accessible beaches in the country and local business for ever improving access for disabled communities.

“Jeffreys Bay is already a holiday and tourist destination and it is up to us to keep that a reality for all communities. This does not always require a lot of resources, but small collective contributions will bring us great achievements,” he said.

Social Services Portfolio Councillor Thandeka Maseti said the Blue Flag status had also ensured creation of a number of jobs in ensuring a safe environment around the beach, with a beach coordinator, four by-law enforcement officers and nine life-guards.

“We, however, need to educate our communities and visitors about times when it is safe to go out bathing in order to avoid drownings which happen, though rarely, after hours when life guards have gone home,” Maseti said.

She also had a special word for the Department of Environmental Affairs who had funded the employment of 41 EPWP workers on the Coast Care programme.

Cape St Francis has also been awarded a pilot status for the Blue Flag which, if it succeeds, may see Kouga having two fully fledged Blue Flag beaches by 2017.

The Blue Flag season opened on 1 November this year and will run until April next year.

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