Pietermaritzburg bathers are swimming in “unhygienic” public swimming pools because of the delayed introduction of a gas chlorine system, says the Concerned Swimming Fraternity (CSF).The organisation said the Msunduzi Municipality has not yet changed from pools using powdered chlorine to the gas system. This was in spite of Mayor Themba Njilo apparently “promising” the CSF in December that the city would change to a gas system from January.The CSF and senior pool staff members said the gas system was more effective at killing bacteria in busy pools.Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not respond to detailed questions e-mailed to her on Wednesday.CSF members visited most of the city’s public pools yesterday after they were reopened on Monday following the winter season.The CSF’s Unwar Rawat, as well as senior staffers at various pools, told The Witness that the current system of powdered chlorine compromises the hygiene of the pools.“When you have bathers in the pool, you can’t put chlorine in. So when a lot of bathers are in the water, the water gets dirty but you can’t put chlorine in it to kill the bacteria,” said a senior staffer at one pool, who would not be named.They explained that, with a gas system, chlorine can be fed into the pool at any time and would not harm bathers.Rawat said: “It works through a filtration system. Chlorine mixes with water [and becomes neutralised] then goes into the pool. Depending on the number of bathers, you can adjust the amount [of chlorine] ...” he said.Another problem, the CSF said, was the children’s pools at Olympic and Eastwood being closed. The one at Olympic is cordoned off due to damage to its fibreglass base, Rawat said. Whether the City intends fixing it is unclear.A staffer at Eastwood said the children’s pool has been closed for about four years, with no sign of it being reopened.Rawat flagged the CSF’s perennial complaint of a lack of lifeguards at pools.He said there were currently insufficient lifeguards to deal with the number of bathers at all pools.Rawat added, however, that in spite of the problems, he was satisfied with the state of the pools overall.The Witness reported on Monday on the CSF’s assertion that lifeguards at public pools had not gone through competency tests in many years, when they should be taking the test once every three years.The CSF visited Olympic, Eastwood Park, Pilditch (Woodlands), Alexandra Park and Berg Street swimming pools.