Edendale plea for swimming pool to avoid drownings

2014-01-17 00:00

THE greater Edendale community have made an impassioned plea to the Msunduzi Municipality to build a swimming pool in the area to prevent more drownings.

Statistics SA shows greater Edendale in Pietermaritzburg is home to over 340 000 people, equating to 53% of the Pietermaritzburg population. Currently there is no swimming pool there for them.

This follows the latest drowning of Noluthando Dzanibe (5) and Zama Thando Mbatha (3) in a river in Caluza recently.

Since January last year, numerous drowning incidents have been reported in the area.

• Last year, Thobani Ngxongo (6) and Cebolakhe Ndlela (8) from Imbali drowned at an Umgeni Water pipeline construction site that was allegedly not fenced off securely.

• In July, Khethokuhle Dlamini from Slangspruit in Imbali drowned in a ditch dug for a sewage pipe while trying to save another child who got into trouble while swimming there.

• At Wayne’s Quarry in Willowfountain in 2010 two cousins, Miranda Xaba (8) and Sebenzile Ntanganda (12), drowned.

Now the community says having a proper swimming pool will help stop the drownings, which occur mostly at illegal, and therefore unguarded, swimming places.

Ward 15 (Imbali’s unit 18, Fedsem, Maqeleni and some parts of unit two) councillor Garnet Mlete said, “We have to chase children away from the quarry. We must have an alternative place for them to swim.”

Plessislaer youth desk chairperson Sibonelo Shangase told The Witness most people in their community along the Msunduzi River can’t afford to go to swimming pools in town as they have to pay taxi fare to get there and then pay at the pool as well.

“They opt to swim in the rivers and streams, which is dangerous,” said Shangase.

He said they normally chase away children swimming in the river, but they simply go to other parts of the river where no one will see them.

Ward 20 (Caluza) councillor Thulani Xulu said a swimming pool would be a dream come true for their community, as it could also “help us develop new swimmers”.

Pata resident Philani Ngcobo said the municipality or business people in the area should sponsor a swimming pool “and maybe we can find new swimming champions”.

Municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said building a swimming pool is one of the many things council would like to do to help improve the lives of the people in the Edendale area.

“A decision like this is dependent on a number of resources being available, such as availability of funds and identifying the land where it could be built. So it is a project that we are currently looking at,” she said.

Swimming pools in Pietermaritzburg:

• Berg Street Swimming Baths — Berg Street

• Buchanan Street Baths — Buchanan Street

• Joliffe Pool — Pine Street

• Alexandra Pool — Alexandra Park

• Woodlands Pool — Melsetter Road

• Eastwood Pool — Kingfisher Road

• Olympic Baths — Newholmes Way

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