Drunks unruly at city pools

2014-01-09 00:00

DRUNKEN revelry was par for the course in Pietermaritzburg over the festive season, which, like Durban and other centres, had its hands full dealing with wayward partiers.

Lifeguards at the city’s swimming pools had the toughest time controlling drunken bathers.

Msunduzi swimming pools manager Thomas Roux said drinking is not allowed at the public pools, but people found ways to smuggle in their alcoholic beverages. It was impossible to catch them, but as the days wore on, lifeguards and personnel at the pools found themselves having to deal with more and more belligerent drunks who refused to listen to instructions, not only endangering their own lives, but also the lives of those around them.

Last week, allegedly drunken youngsters vandalised the Eastwood swimming pool because they were not allowed to swim there. The youths smashed windows, broke the fence and threw bottles into the pool.

Steven Naick, of the Msunduzi parks department, said that drunk people were very troublesome at the Alexandra swimming pool this festive season.

“People disguise their alcohol and bring it in. They drink and become rowdy. They become aggressive or nasty to the attendants or lifeguards at the pool who try to control them,” he said.

Naick added that people drinking at Alexandra Park cause pollution throughout the year.

“People come to the park from Friday and drink. By Monday there is litter everywhere. There are broken bottles everywhere. It is disgusting.”

He said the police patrolled the area.

Parks and pools were not the only areas treated as drinking spots during the holidays.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said 183 people were arrested for drinking in public in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas during the December festive season. Other drunken offences also resulted in arrests over the festive period.

Thirty-five people were arrested for driving under the influence of liquor, 20 people were arrested for illegally dealing in liquor and six were arrested for disturbing the peace, said Zwane.

A Witness reader, who asked not to be named, said he spotted five men drinking in the Mountain Rise graveyard. “The men were drinking near [one of the] crematoriums. Their car roof was covered with bottles.”

The man said the incident occurred at around midday, and the men were parked near the gate leading to the graveyard. “There was a security guard there, but all he did was lock the gate and go away.”

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