City pools ready for swim season?

2015-09-02 06:00

SWIMMING season began yesterday and 1 September this year marked a special occasion for Berg Street Swimming Pool as it turned 50.

On 1 September, 1965, the Berg Street Indian Swimming Bath was officially opened for the strict use of Indians only and lifeguards were hired from Durban to man the pool.

Jay Jugwanth, founder member of the Berg Street Amateur Swimming Club, said that at that time swimming was new in the Indian community and was the meeting place for social interaction. Families spent weekends at the pool watching over their children learning to swim. PMB then produced many swimmers who went on to earn honours in the sport.

While swimming took off at that stage, 20 years later there was a lull in the sport. It was at that stage that Unwar Rawat, who was then the lifeguard at the pool, had a vision to encourage youngsters to follow a healthy lifestyle and did his best to promote the sport among the community.

Since then there has been a general deterioration in the facilities provided for swimmers in Pietermaritzburg, but not only at Berg Street pool which has been closed for years.

For many years the concerned swimming fraternity has been fighting the good fight with the municipality to get the pools in the city up to the right standard.

“Unwar Rawat, has for decades persisted in getting decent swimming facilities - during apartheid and into our democracy. He placed Pietermaritzburg on the provincial and national map of the South African Council on Sport swimming structures and to date he continues to challenge the incompetent municipality to be to be accountable for swimming facilities.

“The CSF salutes the humble, tireless and unassuming Rawat who refuses to accept recognition,” said Jugwanth.

“To challenge apartheid was my duty, to advocate for equality is every citizen’s rightful responsibility and to teach and coach swimming is my social responsibility to the community.”

Jugwanth said there is a possibility that city pools will not be opened this week.

“Berg Street is revamped but will not open today as work is outstanding. Sobantu is in a mess. Olympic will not open due to a leak being repaired and Eastwood is also leaking,” he said.

However, acting municipal marketing­ and communications manager, Nqobile Madonda, said all pools will be opened during the course of the week.

“The pools will be opened during this week starting, 1 September.

“Alexandra pool is closed because of repairs to an inlet pipe. Berg Street pool refurbishment is complete and is currently being commissioned,” she said.

‘Pools will be opened during this week starting, 1 September’

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